9 Ways for Mom to Earn and Save

mom money

Money earning and saving tips can be useful to anyone. But as major contributors to the family, moms are even more attune to ways to save for the family. Since I’m a big believer in doing more with less, here are some great tips on how you can save and make more money. While these might not get you rich quick, utilizing these strategies over time will save you all the extra money you may currently be missing out on.

1. Earn Free Gift Cards on Swagbucks.com

gift cards

Swagbucks is an awesome site that I’ve been using for a long time to easily earn free gift cards for doing things online. You can earn gift cards from major retailers like Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Target. Swagbucks also supports gift cards for places like Toys”R”Us, TJ Maxx, Sephora, and Overstock!

The way it works is Swagbucks rewards you with Swag Bucks for doing online tasks such as taking surveys, shopping online, watching videos, playing games, searching the web, etc.. These are simple things that you can do throughout the day at home whenever you have a break. The Swag Bucks can then be redeemed for gift cards or other rewards. If you’re already online, it’s pretty easy to start earning rewards. I have a few friends that have payed for their Christmas presents entirely with Swagbucks gift cards. You can check it out over here: Swagbucks

You can check out my more in-depth review over here: Swagbucks Review

2. Earn Extra Cash By Taking Surveys

Woman with laptop.

If you have extra time between soccer practice and dinner, and want to earn some extra money, there are quite a few online companies that pay you for taking surveys. These surveys will vary by size, topic, and payment, and you have to qualify to take the surveys. Surveys pay out from $1 to $25 depending on the length. To maximize your earnings, sign up for several of these.

Here are a couple of my personal favorites:

My Survey - Very easy surveys with quick payments. One of my favorites.

Only Cash Surveys – Many short surveys that pay $2.

3. Shop and Earn Program

mom shopping

If you haven’t heard of Shop and Earn programs yet, you should definitely try it out because it’s basically free money. Shop and Earn programs allow you to earn a percentage of cash back from your online purchases. The amount varies from merchant to merchant. All you have to do is sign up to a Shop and Earn program and do your regular online shopping! Below are a few of the more popular and profitable Shop and Earn programs I’ve found:

Swagbucks

TopCashBack

You really start earning when you combine multiple ways to save. For example, let’s say you want to buy a new TV at Walmart. Get 4% back at Swagbucks, plus save 2% using a rewards earning credit card. That’s 6%. Not huge but it adds up!

4. Sell Old Electronics on Gazelle

mom phone

Gazelle allows you to turn your old cell phones, iPods, iPads or other electronics into cash. It’s pretty easy: find your gadget, answer a few questions, ship it in (free if its over $1), get paid via check or PayPal. I looked up my old iPhone 3Gs and found out that I can get $37. Use this link and get an extra $10 for any trade-ins worth over $25. Gazelle

5. Call to have your current interest rates lowered on Credit Cards

credit cards

Ask and you will be given. Call your current credit card companies and just ask if they can lower the interest rate. They won’t always do it, but they will grant your request for a lower interest more often than you think.

6. Rent Out Your Home on Air BnB when you’re out of town

air bnb

I have a friend who makes upwards of $50,000 a year renting out his home in Amsterdam when he’s traveling. You can especially earn a lot if your home is in an area that is highly visited by tourists.

The reason I love this is because you get to charge hotel rates for renting out your home. And if you aren’t even going to be at home, then I see free money!

Worried about people damaging your home? Air BnB has you covered with their 1 million dollar insurance policy. Plus when someone rents through Air BnB, a lot of personal information is required, which makes it highly unlikely that someone will damage your home.

7. Use Coupons

mom coupons 

Most stores nowadays will adjust their prices to compensate for coupons. So if you aren’t using coupons, you are actually losing money in the long run. But no worries, you can find great coupons all over the Internet now. Just do a quick search before your purchase.

Here are a couple of popular coupon sites that can get you started:

www.couponmom.com

www.retailmenot.com

8. Use Store Loyalty Cards and Debit Cards

store loyalty cards

Lastly, utilize store loyalty cards and debit cards. You don’t need to get a card for every single store, but just the few that you visit regularly.

Stores will usually give you rewards in cash back or gift certificates based on the amount you spend. If you are going to buy from these stores anyway, might as well get extra rewards.

Many stores now also provide a free debit card, which basically just connects onto your bank account. This also doubles as a reward card but the rewards are usually a lot better than if you just had a loyalty card.

Here are a few rewards I get for linking my debit card to a store’s loyalty card:

Nordstrom – Gives you a free $100 in Alterations a year, plus sends you Gift Certificates based on your spending

Arco – Arco waves the .35 fee they charge when you pay using a debit or credit card at their gas stations

I visit both these business very often, so it’s pretty much a no brainer for me to sign up for their cards. Both are also very easy to sign up for. I just filled out a quick form in the store and they mailed me my card.

How to Get Free Gift Cards

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What would it be like to sit down for dinner, open your wallet, and pull out a gift card you paid nothing for to pay for your meal? Once you learn how to get free gift cards, you will not want to pay for anything at full price again. How can you get them? There are numerous options from simply asking for a deal to participating in surveys. The more times you engage opportunities like this to earn something back, you’ll have more money in your pocket to do the things you want to do.

To find free gift cards, consider the following options. You’ll find that each one of these locations is an ideal place for spending just a bit of time to get something for virtually nothing.

Swagbucks

One of the hottest options right now is a site called Swagbucks. Once you set up your account on the site, you receive free gift cards for taking Surveys, searching the web, shopping, watching videos, and playing games. There are also additional tasks you can perform to earn deals, like finding Swag Codes on the site. Look at the site to learn the latest tasks that need to be performed in order to get points. Then, when you earn enough, those Swagbucks turn into gift cards to your favorite stores. Just some of the gift cards they offer are from Amazon, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, Starbucks, and Pay Pal. You can check them out here: Swagbucks Continue Reading

11 Ways to Make Extra Money to Buy Birthday Presents

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Your loved one’s birthday is coming up and you need to get a gift to that person that shows just how special he or she is. It might be your son who has asked for the latest gadget or your daughter who really would like a new special toy. No matter how big or small this item is, when there is a need for funds, you have to get creative. With a bit of time and planning, you may be able to buy your loved one exactly what he or she wants and has a lot of fun with it, too. Consider the following ways to make getting extra money for a birthday present possible.

1 – Swagbucks

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Swagbucks is by far one of my favorite reward sites. They award you “Swagbucks” for doing things on their site like taking surveys and searching the web. You can then exchange these “Swagbucks” for gift cards to your favorite retailers like Amazon, Target, and Wal-Mart just to name a few. You can either buy that special someone a gift with your gift card or simply give them the gift card as a gift. You can sign-up over here: Swagbucks

2 – Take Online Surveys For Cash

A very popular way to earn money online is by taking surveys. Their are many companies that will pay you to give your insight on brands and consumer products. The amount you are paid for a survey can vary depending on a variety of factors such as length and topic. The payout can range from $1 to $75. You could easily use the money you earn from taking surveys to buy someone special a great birthday gift. Here’s a couple of Survey Sites that we like to use here at Free Money Blog:

Only Cash Surveys

My Survey

3 – Sell Through eBay

What do you have laying around the home that you no longer need? Perhaps you have that item still in its box that a friend or family member gave to you that you no longer need or want. Why not sell it. You can often do this with children’s clothing, too. Sign up on the site to sell a few things to earn extra money. To learn more about eBay visit their site here: eBay

4 – Offer Consulting Services

Do you have a special skill that business find valuable such as marketing, management, graphic design, or human resource skills? If so, turn to local companies who you think are struggling, such as a local restaurant or a small business selling at the local mall. Provide your services as a free lance contractor to help with balancing the books, getting human resources in line, or helping with a few shifts of managing the facility. This type of consulting work pays a fee that you set.

6 – Take on a Part Time Job

Many people do not want to actually take on a part time job to earn extra money. However, it is a simple and straightforward way of earning extra funds. Just think out of the box. For example, if you have a friend that owns a shop, ask to do some work for a few hours a week. You could pick up a few hours of work at the local rec center or library doing administrative work.

7 – Take Odd Jobs Online

If you really want to earn extra money for that birthday present, why not use a site like Mturk or Fiverr to help you to do it? These sites allow you to pick up odd jobs that companies and individuals need help with. You can easily get the work done in your spare time and earn a payment for doing so. You never know what the job types will be.

Here’s some great sites to find potential odd jobs:

Fiverr

Mturk

Odesk

7 – Clean for a Fee

There are very successful cleaning companies out there. Why not start your own. Start small such as providing cleaning services for one or two people. You may even want to simply apply for a position doing after hour cleaning at a bank, office building, school, or retail outlet. You can work when it fits your schedule.

8 – Write an eBook

Perhaps you have a lot to say yourself. Why not write an eBook and sell it? You can easily market it on various sites online or even create a blog as a way of earning extra money. If you have something you think other people will find valuable, this is the route to take to sell that information.

9 – Ask for a Raise

Why include this on the list of ways to earn extra money? Most people do not do this and that’s where they are making a mistake. If it has been a year or longer since you received a raise from your employer, it never hurts to ask for one. You may want to ask what other tasks or responsibilities you can pick up to add to your income, too.

To earn extra money, check out any of these ideas. You may find that getting extra money for that birthday present is easier to do than you realize.

10 – Sell Old Electronics

There are various ways you can do this. Some websites will give you a set price for that old iPod you have or your laptop you no longer use. Other times, you can simply sell the items on eBay or through a local pawnshop. Not everyone can afford to purchase the most expensive new items, and are happy to purchase used electronics. If it is in good working condition, sell it.

11 – Do Some Babysitting

You may know of a friend who needs help with driving children back and forth to school. Do it for them for a small price. You may want to find a babysitting position by networking with other parents. Even watching a child for an hour or two after school ends until parents come home can help you to earn some money

Save $1,000 Year on Cable?

cordcut

“Cutting the cord” is the term used to describe the act of cancelling ones premium cable or satellite service for online streaming services like Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and local over the air (OTA) broadcast channels via an antenna.

Just recently I took a look at my cable bill and realized I was spending $100 a month on cable television and was only watching a few shows and movies. Now I love movies and the occasional Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad episode, but I started pondering if it was worth spending over $1,000 a year on cable television with more affordable video streaming options such as Netflix and Hulu Plus available.

Cancelling your cable television isn’t an easy task, especially if you’ve lived with it for years. Even with the alternatives you can’t replace everything that cable television offers such as specific sporting events or really popular TV shows. I decided to come up with a pros and cons list to help me decide if the extra cost was worth the value I was receiving from my cable subscription.

Pros of Cutting the Cord

- Over 80% savings using alternative streaming services compared to cable cost

- Wide variety of new and old movies and TV shows on Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime

- Free local programming available via over the air antenna. With an over the air antenna you can receive local broadcast networks including local sports. One-time cost of $50.

- If you want more that local sports the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL allow you to stream all games. NFL costs $300 per season, others are $50 per season.

- Not tied to your TV. You can watch most services on your phone or tablet as long as you have an internet connection.

Cons of Cutting the Cord

- Added effort in using and juggling multiple technological services and devices not as easy as simply using a remote control

- Not all new TV shows available right away on streaming services.

- Need to have internet and have it connected TV to internet via Xbox, Roku etc.

My Decision

After weighing out my own television usage and what I’d be missing out by using alternative entertainment services such as Netflix and Hulu plus I decided that I should cut the cord. Not only would I save over $800 a year, but I would be able to use the time I’d otherwise waste channel surfing to more productive activities in my life.

Now don’t get me wrong I still need my entertainment fix and after trying the various entertainment alternatives I decided on a Netflix and Hulu Plus subscription whose combined cost was only $15.98 a month!

Alternative Video Streaming Services

Netflix

netflix

Netflix has a fairly large selection of movies and TV shows at the very low price of $7.99 a month with no contract. There are full seasons of TV shows, documentaries, and movies, with the majority in HD quality video.

Another great feature of Netflix is that many video game systems, blu ray players, HDTV’s and media streamers are already integrated out the box with it. I know both my TV and Playstation 3 allow me to access the entire Netflix library straight from my devices.

The one complaint I have with Netflix is they don’t have many of the newer movies available, but the ability to stream anywhere I have internet access and the wide variety of movies and shows more than make up for it.

You can find out more information or sign up to Netflix over here: www.netflix.com


Hulu Plus

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Hulu Plus lets you watch movies and television shows on the Hulu network. The fact that Hulu Plus has many current TV show episodes available makes it a good addition to a Netflix subscription which has more movies and older TV shows in their catalog.

At $7.99 a month with no contract it’s hard to complain about the cost. Hulu Plus also has a Refer a Friend program where you can get 2 weeks free for every referral up to 1 year free.

If you want to get a feel for Hulu Plus before spending any money you can sign up for a free Hulu account which will give you access to close to a thousand seasons of current and classic TV shows.

To sign up for a Hulu Plus account go to their site here: http://www.hulu.com/plus

9 Easy Money Earning Tips You Can Use Immediately in 2013


As we begin 2013 New Years resolutions are being made everywhere. On top of most lists are “save more money” or “make more money”. I’m a big believer in doing more with less so here’s some great tips on how you can save and make more money with very little effort. A lot of these suggestions in my list aren’t going to buy you a new Bently, but add them up over a year or even a lifetime and you start seeing all the extra money you may be leaving on the table.

1. Earn Free Gift Cards on Swagbucks.com

Swagbucks is an awesome little site I discovered a while back that allows you to earn free gift cards for doing things online. The gift cards are from major retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon. I personally like the option to get Amazon gift cards as I make the majority of my online purchases on Amazon.

The way it works is Swagbucks rewards you with Swag Bucks for doing online tasks such as taking surveys, shopping online, watching videos, playing games, searching the web, etc.. The Swag Bucks can then be redeemed for gift cards or other rewards. If you’re online a lot (like myself) than it’s pretty easy to start earning rewards. I have a few friends that have payed for their Christmas presents entirely with Swagbucks gift cards. You can check it out over here: Swagbucks

You can check out my more in-depth review over here: Swagbucks Review

2. Earn Extra Cash By Taking Surveys

If you have extra time and want to earn some extra money they’re quite a few online companies that pay you for taking surveys. Now these surveys will vary on size, topic, and payment and you have to qualify to take the surveys. Surveys pay out from $1 to $25 depending on the length. To maximize your earnings sign up for several of these.

Here are a couple of my personal favorites:

My Survey - Very easy surveys with quick payments. One of my favorites

Only Cash Surveys – Many short surveys that pay $2

3. Shop and Earn Program

I’ve heard of about Shop and Earn programs a while ago, but just recently decided to sign-up and try it out. I’m disappointed in the fact I waited so long to join because it’s basically free money. Shop and Earn programs allow you to earn a percentage of cash back from your online purchases. The amount varies from merchant to merchant. All you have to do is sign up to a Shop and Earn program and start shopping! Below are a few of the more popular Shop and Earn programs I’ve found.

Swagbucks (Also my favorite site for cash back)

TopCashBack

You really start saving when you combine multiple ways to save. For example you want to buy a new TV at Walmat. Save 4% at Swagbucks plus save 2% using a rewards earning credit card. That’s 6%. Not huge but it adds up!

4. Find a High Interest Saving Account with Minimal Fees

Everyone has a basic savings account and most don’t care to look at the interest rates they are getting because it’s pretty minimal (savings interest rates are usually in the range of .2 – 1 percent) , but another extra dollar here and an extra dollar there really starts to add up.

The savings accounts with the highest yields are usually online, so if you can deal with online banking you have a quite a few choices. Here a are a few reputable ones you can look into:

Ing Direct – .75% Interest Rate

CIT Bank – 1% Interest Rate

Ally Bank – .95%

5. Call to have your current interest rates lowered on Credit Cards


Ask and you will be given. Call your current credit card companies and just ask if they can lower the interest rate. They won’t always do it, but they will grant your request for a lower interest more often than you think.

6. Transfer CC Balances to 0% Interest Rate Credit Cards

This option can be both a blessing and a curse. I only recommend doing this if you are 100% positive you won’t using your credit cards on purchases you can’t pay back right away. If you have the will power to say no to Credit Card use then this is a great option.

This will make paying off your credit card debt a lot faster since you aren’t accumulating interest, but like I said it can also backfire on you if you keep using your high interest rate credit cards.

7. Rent Out Your Home on Air BnB when you’re out of town

I have a friend who makes upwards of $50,000 a year renting out his home in Amsterdam when he’s travelling. You can especially earn a lot if your home is in an area that is highly visited by tourist.

The reason I love this is because you get to charge hotel rates for renting out your home. And if you aren’t even going to be at home, then I see free money!

Worried about people damaging your home? Air BnB has you covered with their 1 million dollar insurance policy. Plus the fact that when you rent through Air BnB you have to give a lot of personal information, makes it highly unlikely someone will damage your home.

8. Use Coupons

Most stores nowadays will adjust their prices to compensate for coupons so if you aren’t using coupons you are actually losing money in the long runs. It’s easy to find coupons though because of the internet.

When you are about to make a purchase simply do a quick Google search on whatever the product is + coupon.

Here a couple of popular coupon sites you can get your coupons:

www.couponmom.com

www.retailmenot.com

9. Use Store Loyalty Cards and Debit Cards

Last but not least is utilize store loyalty cards and debit cards. You don’t need to get a card for every single store but just the few that you visit very regularly.

Stores will usually give you rewards in cash back or gift certificates based on the amount you spend. If you are going to buy from those stores anyways might as well get extra rewards.

Many stores now also provide a free debit card which basically just connects onto your bank account. This also doubles as a reward card but the rewards are usually a lot better than if you just had a loyalty card.

Here are a few rewards I get for linking my debit card to a stores loyalty card:

Nordstrom – Gives you a free $100 in Alterations a year plus send you Gift Certificates based on your spending

Arco – Arco waves the .35 fee they charge when you pay using a debit or credit card at their gas stations

I visit both those business very often so it’s pretty much a no brainer for me to sign up for their card. Both are also very easy to sign up for, I just filled out a quick form in the store and they mailed me my card.

Best Tax Software for Procrastinators

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Taxes are due in about a month. Sigh.

It’s fitting to review some of the more popular online tax programs, so you’ll know what’s available, and how to make an educated choice that best fits your needs.

The Advantages of Using Online Tax Software

1. Price

This is the biggest reason to utilize online tax programs. I already have to pay taxes. I’d like to save as much money as I can on the actual preparation of them. If you have someone to prepare your taxes, it begins at $100 to just walk in the door, and goes way up from there.

On the other hand, most online tax programs range between $10 and $100, with some online tax services filing your Federal taxes for free.

2. Speed

Once you’ve collected all of your tax related documents, sitting down and inputting everything into the online tax program is quick. Most can complete their taxes and e-file within a couple of hours. This can save you precious time.

3. Ease of Use

Great online tax software is extremely user friendly, making your preparation fast and easy to input information, complete and file.

4. Maximum Refund, Accuracy Guarantees and Audit Protection

The big online tax preparation programs like TurboTax and TaxACT offer “Maximum Refunds” and “Accuracy” guarantees, which state that they will cover any penalty on interest fees that could occur from any calculations errors. They also offer “Audit Protection” as an option, in case anything happens after filing.

Tax Software Reviews

Now that we are aware of the benefits of using online tax software, here are some of the highlights for the best programs currently available on the market.

1. TurboTax

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You’ve probably heard of or seen TurboTaxas it is one of the most popular online tax programs available. It also has a very polished and user friendly interface.

- If you’re filing just one W-2, then your Federal filing price is free, as TurboTax only charges fees for State filings

- Otherwise, Federal return filing price starts at $29.99, and combined with State returns, price for filings starts at $36.99

- TurboTax has the best support in automatic import of your W-2 and 1099 forms from payroll providers and financial institutions

- Audit support is average, in so far as you get downloadable help through the Audit Support Center, but no live help

If the majority tax return is close to last year’s return, then TurboTax will save you a lot of time, especially with the automatic import of your W-2 and 1099 forms.

Here’s where you can sign up: Turbo Tax

2. TaxACT Online

- Cheapest tax preparation overall with Federal filing starting at $9.99

- Audit support is average, in so far as you get downloadable help through the Audit Support Center, but no live help

- Even with the lower price, it is just as accurate as other online tax software

- Limited automatic import support

- Limited audit support

If you are simply looking for a cheap, but reliable online tax preparation software with no bells and whistles, then TaxACT is a good choice. If your taxes are complicated, then I’d go with another program, as TaxACT doesn’t offer a great amount of support.

Go here to sign up: TaxACT

3. H&R Block at Home Online

- Federal return filing price starts at $29.95, and combined with State returns, price for filings starts at $34.95

- Moderate import support for 1099s and W-2 (not as robust as TurboTax’s import options)

- Best free audit support, as this online software includes an H&R Block Enrolled Agent who will actually attend your audit in-person

If you’re one of those people that likes to “be sure” to sleep well at night, then H&R Block is a good option as you’ll know that you have a federally authorized enrolled agent who will help guide you through in the unlikely case that you are audited.

If you want to try out H&R Block you can sign up over here: H&R Block