Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Need More Cash?

In previous posts I've talked about shopping smarter in the grocery store, cheaper meals, the best products to get at the Dollar Store, and reducing waste as a means of saving money. Whether you're trying to pay off some debt, saving for something special or just trying to pay monthly bills sometimes you just need more money.

The easiest way to do that is to get another job. Except... I deal with chronic pain issues and work a full-time job. I have a second job that I work a few days a month. I also value spending time with my nieces and nephew so I help take care of them a few times a week. Getting a third job isn't really an option for me. What do you do then?

I keep seeing these posts about how people should start a blog to make money. I have a confession to make:



So far, the answer for me has been to cut costs on things I'm already buying. I'm earning back where I can. I'm also finding ways to earn money that doesn't mean working more hours during the week. This list isn't going to help you earn money in a short period of time. It also isn't going to give you an income you can live off of. The suggestions on this list are a great way to get some money back, cut costs and add some extra to the monthly budget.

These are all things I have tried and I am using weekly to earn back money. Using these programs, I've gotten back at least $600 in cash, gift cards or merchandise credit thus far in 2017.

Amazon Mturk Amazon's Mechanical Turk program allows you to work from home performing "Human Intelligence Tasks" (HITs). You can work from home at your convenience. The process of signing up is pretty simple and easy to understand. Sign up is free and you don't need to really do anything extra if you already have an Amazon.com username and password.

There isn't much experience required for many of the assignments, but it does require some patience and a willingness to do the work. The idea of Amazon Mturk isn't to make an income to life off of but simply to make some extra money for completing simple tasks. Some tasks aren't available to beginners, but you can obtain qualifications by requesting them and sometimes taking tests to prove you can do it.

Tasks can include things like photo moderation for dating apps, simple transcription, and educational surveys. I complete HITs when it is slow during my regular office hours. In 2016, I made an $120.09. In 2017, I challenged myself to complete $1.00 worth of assignments each day. There are 260 working days in 2017. So far I've earned $229.78.

I do have to warn you that not all HITs are as safe as one would expect. Sometimes despite the best efforts of Mturkers and the site, scams do occasionally get through and should not be completed by workers. While there aren't many, sometimes they do come up. The best way to avoid this is to not sign up for anything or provide personal identification information or financial information to anyone other than Amazon.


Swagbucks They recently started advertising via television commercials. Unfortunately, the problem with Swagbucks is that the site and how it works sounds too good to be true. I'm here to tell you that it is true!

When I initially signed up, I didn't earn much. It wasn't until I learned how to utilize Swagbucks to earn that I really started making money with it. Like Mturk, you cannot make a living on this site but you can bring in some additional income. In 2017, I've earned back $145 in Amazon gift cards, Steam gift cards and payments made to my Paypal account.

So, how does it work and how to I make money? First you need to sign up. This is a pretty easy and straight foward process (use this link for a $3 bonus when you earn 300 Swagbucks: http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/Aisgreen). Once you're signed up, you can start earning money through the various earning opportunities. These include:

    Image result for swagbucks
  • Surveys: Definitely on of the most popular and fastest ways to earn. You earn points for answering questions.While you won't be eligible for every survey, you'll get 1 SB for the first five you try that you aren't eligible for.
  • Search Engine: If you use the Search Engine, Swagbucks will randomly reward you with Swagbucks for looking up recipes or searching for cat videos.
  • Referral Program: Swagbucks knows sharing is caring. If you refer a friend, you'll earn 10% back of everything they earn. So if you're friend completes a 100 SB survey, you will get 10 SB. This will work out great if you have a lot of friends.
  • Cash Back: This is one of my favorite features on Swagbucks. You can earn cash back for shopping at online retailers including Amazon, Target and Best Buy. The best way to use this is to download the Swagbutton which will notify you when you can earn cash back through a website.
  • Trial Offers: This is another one of my favorite features on Swagbucks. I sign up for things I want to try and get points. This is great for someone like me because I like to try new things and doing it this way means I get points and deals I wouldn't get going through other sites. If you sign up to try a program or trial offer, you can sometimes earn $25 worth in gift cards back just for trying a service. These services usually include monthly programs and require a credit card, but you can cancel after the first month if you don't like it. Offers include things like signing up for Hulu, Blue Apron or popular snack boxes like NatureBox.

    I recently tried NatureBox. I ordered $20.96 plus $4.95 for shipping. There was a code for $15.00 off. The total was $10.91 for my box and I received 1,250 Swagbucks ($12.50) in rewards.

    Last month they were offering a one day deal if you signed up for Schwans as a new customer.  I basically received my order for $3.81

    The Total: $55.44
    Order Savings with Coupon Code: $16.63
    Order Total: $38.81
    SB Earned: 3500 SwagBucks or $35 which I put back into my bank account via Paypal.
     
  • Games: Swagbucks offers games on their site, but it's not my preferred method of earning points.
  • Watch: You can earn Swagbucks by watching videos. By clicking on the Watch button and allowing it to play, you can earn up to $5.00 a day sometimes. Swagbucks also has a number of apps you can use to watch things like recipes and funny comedy clips that can earn you $3-5 a day if you allow them to play.
  • Daily To-Do List: Swagbucks gives you a to-do list every day that includes things like answering a Daily Poll questions, watching "Crave" which is a daily video, and attempting a survey. If you complete your To-DO list, you get a bonus!
  • Coupons: Swagbucks offers a really great coupon program every month where you can print off coupons for things like groceries, make up and toilet paper. The best part? You earn when you print the coupons and when you use them. For extra savings, use the coupons with programs the other programs below!
Image result for ibotta
Ibotta When it comes to saving on groceries, Ibotta has been the best app I've found so far. The app also includes things like soap and shampoo. Before you go shopping, scroll through the app and add offers to your list. Sometimes you'll need to answer a few survey questions or watch a short film to unlock an offer first. Then go shopping and buy the items you selected at any of the participating stores. Don't forget your receipt because you'll need it! Redeem your offers by taking a photo of your receipt and scanning them as you put them away. You may be asked to scan a barcode from the package. Your cash will be deposited into your Ibotta account within 48 hours. You can withdraw cash once you've earned a minimum of $20.

You'll also earn extra money completing bonus offers which include buying items multiple times or completing a number of offers every month. If you link your Ibotta account to your Facebook, you'll be part of a team and you'll earn bonuses for that as well. You can also earn cash back by using Ibotta to go to your favorite sites like Jet and Amazon (for specific categories like Video and ).

BONUS TIP: You can use both store sales, store coupons, coupons from Swagbucks, other apps and manufacturer's coupons with Ibotta.

Click this link or use referral code smaclgp and you'll receive a $10 welcome bonus and you'll be included as a member of my team which will help you reach bonuses!


Fetch Rewards My second favorite app for groceries is Fetch Rewards. It's a newer app that rewards you for buying specific brands when you shop. Fetch Rewards also has special offers from time to time on certain brands. Using the app is easy, just scan your grocery receipt and when Fetch spots an item it will ask you to verify it. Then you'll be rewarded points.
Image result for fetch rewards

I could earn more with this program if I watched their featured items. However I choose to buy products I already use and enjoy. I don't modifying my shopping habits to accommodate the brands they offer.
Use referral code FA1WR and you'll get 1,500 Fetch Points ($1.50) bonus when you complete one receipt.





Walgreens Balance Rewards Everyone should be using this program. Points back for what you buy, extra points when you buy in bulk. There is no downside to the Walgreens Balance Rewards program. The best part? You can use it with the other programs I've listed above. While the website only shows me the last 180 days, I've earned back at least $60 from this program alone in 2017. Shopping at Walgreens when items are on sale costs less than shopping at Walmart. While I love that Walmart has the Savings Catcher program, if you use the Balance Rewards and buy items on sale at Walgreens you get the sale price plus purchase points.

BONUS TIP: Link your health tracker (Fitbit, Omron, etc) to your Balance Rewards card and earn points for daily activities. You can also earn for tracking your weight and blood pressure readings.

Walmart Savings Catcher The Savings Catcher is not dead! There was some serious miscommunication regarding the Savings Catcher program a few months back. I contribute the miscommunication problems to people not knowing about the price match guarantee and reading and comprehension problems in the United States. There were a few changes that came from Walmart this year. The first change was that they were no longer going to allow Price Matching in the stores. This means you can't bring a competitors ad to the cashier and get it for the lower price. Most people don't use it anyway, but it's even less necessary with the Savings Catcher program which basically does the same thing for you. In September 2017, Walmart announced that balances would be transferred to an EGift card automatically. According to the notice, “We’ll be transferring your Savings Catcher rewards balance to an eGift Card between October 11 and October 31– just in time for the holiday season. Your eGift Card can be used toward any Walmart purchase.” You can still use the program, but you'll have to use Walmart Pay.

Receipt Hog While it is considerably slower at earning that any of the aforementioned apps and programs, Receipt Hog is really easy. All you have to do is scan your receipt. Receipt Hog accepts a broad range of receipts including retail, grocery and even fast food. Unfortunately, they don't give you credit for digital receipts. I've been using this program for a few years now and earn about $15 back a year. This might be more useful for people with bigger grocery bills.

Checkout51 This program is very similar to Ibotta. I'm not going to lie, I don't like it as much. The reason I'm mentioning it is because many times offers on Ibotta are also available on Checkout51. I recently bought two bags of Brownie Brittle on sale at Walgreens 2/$5. Ibotta gave me a $2.00 rebate and Checkout51 had a rebate for $1.00. I consider that a definite win!

Sell Items Online I know, I know... selling things online can be a pain. Sites like Ebay have really made huge strides towards making it an easier process for sellers! Ebay has now partnered with the United States Postal Service so you can print your USPS shipping label right at home after selling your item. There are many other sites where you can list and sell your gently used items, even makeup! You can also sell books, clothing, collectibles and stuff you just don't want anymore.

Consignment Stores My area has consignment stores that will pay cash after reviewing my items. While they pay less than what I would get if I were to take the time to sell my items online, I also don't have to deal with the Craigslist weirdos. I also feel better about this option because I'm getting something back, even if it's just a little bit.

Sell Plasma I've left this option for last because I know not everyone is able to do it. This is the one suggestion I have that I personally am not able to do. I was rejected because of my veins. However, I've known people who got paid rather well for going and selling plasma once or twice a week. I once suggested it to a friend and he used it to pay his utilities for two years. Plasma centers pay different depending on your area, but in my area a single weekly visit can mean an additional $100 in the bank. Some centers allow a second visit in a week and often pay more for that additional visit.


While all these things do take a few extra minutes, the pay off for me has been more than worth it and I hope this list helps your bottom line too!

What apps or websites are you using to save money?  Do you have any helpful tips for the programs I mentioned?