Saturday, May 29, 2010
So I thought I'd throw in a few ideas from time to time on ways to make a little extra money that could actually be saved --in other words, put away and never touched. Or, be there for that next unexpected expense that comes up....like that tutu your 4 year old daughter wants so badly. Just saying.
I came across a website recently --some of you may already know of it-- called Emerging Cast. It is not going to make you rich, nor pay too many bills, but it might help you out with that tutu. Basically you write fairly short articles on the websites template (sort of like "how-to tutorials" ) and when the article is accepted (you may get asked to do minor revisions first...and maybe not,) you get paid.
Once you sign up with Emerging Cast, you immediately have access to their list of writing assignments to choose from. There are a million categories (okay...I exaggerate,) to choose from such as parenting, sports, health, food, drinks, etc. Each category has a long list of available writing assignments (such as, how to remove a hickey. I kid you not.). Claim the assignment, write it and submit.
Sounds pretty good so far, you are thinking? It is a way to make some extra cash each month, but here is the part you may or may not like--most articles I have seen are paying $2. Yep, I did warn you that this will not be a 'get rich' thing, didn't I? But before you shake your head at me, think about it. 20 minutes to write up a short "how to" can mean $2 in your account. Write one article a day and that is $60 at the end of the month. If you just do nothing with that money...that would be $720/year. And of course, you may decide to write more than one article a day. (You just have to write the first, get it accepted, before they let you take on more assignments.)
So there is my "way to make some extra money" idea for this week. Do with it what you may. If you decide to check it out, go to www.emergingcast.com. (and this is not me trying to make a dollar of you as an affiliate,.... I am not an affiliate or anything like that . Notice the absence of links to click?) Just tossing out an idea on this Saturday for anyone sitting at home wondering how to make an extra buck or two, literally, in their spare time!
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Plan some quality family time this weekend that will save you money as well as delight the kids. Instead of shopping at the mall, eating out at restaurants and going to the movie theater, try some of these 12 cheap ideas for a fun filled family weekend.
1. Friday night, plan a kids menu dinner just like at the restaurants! Make a menu with two or three choices kids love such as: English Muffin Pizzas (pizza sauce, cheese and muffins!), PB&J sandwiches, and macaroni and cheese. Let the kids "order" their food, and while their selections are being made, give them some crayons and paper.
2. After dinner play some games like Simon Says or charades.
3. Bake cookies for Saturday.
4. Go fly a kite! (you can make kites on Friday night for an after-dinner activity,) or just hang out at the park. Bring inexpensive snacks like pretzels, apple slices, raisins, and fill bottles with water to bring as well.
5. Visit your local library and get books and movies.
6. Make another fun dinner that is kid-friendly such as hot dogs (turkey dogs or veggie dogs) with orange slices. Remember those cookies you made Friday night? Enjoy them after dinner on Saturday.
7. Pop some pop corn and watch the movies from the library.
8. Make a surprise breakfast in bed for the kids Sunday morning then enjoy a little quiet time alone while they eat.
9. Read the library books you checked out while everyone is still in their p.j's. Plan a play from one of the books (or more if you are energetic!) and have the kids plan props, costumes, etc.
10. Take a long walk.
11. Indulge in bubble baths.
12. Have a formal sit down dinner with candles, good plates and glasses. The meal can be simple like spaghetti, it's the atmosphere that will make it special. Share your favorite part(s) of the weekend you all just spent together while you eat.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
1, When making hotel reservations, always call the actual hotel site, not the hotel chain's 800 number. The reservation agents for the 800 numbers are usually in different states or even countries, and may not know about local deals.
2. Call for your reservations on a Sunday afternoon; most managers usually have this day off, and the front desk may be able to give you a better deal.
3. Check for vacation deals at STATravel.com ( they offer great travel deals usually geared towards students, however, you do not have to be in school to get the discounts.)
4, You will find the lowest prices on vacation deals during the couple of weeks before the start of the main vacation travel season, and at the end of the season. Booking your trip before June 15th or after Labor Day can usually save you extra money.
5. Try using Priceline.com or Hotwire.com to rent a car. These sites can negotiate low rates for car rentals from major companies with extra inventory.
6. You might want to think about skipping hotels altogether and try switching houses with another family on vacation. Try sites like Digsville.com and HomeExchange.com to find other vacationers interested in swapping homes. Annual membership fees on these sites may run from $50 to $100, but they can save you much more money in the long run!
Monday, May 17, 2010
Make it easy on yourself to save some money before you shop and buy online by keeping a comparison website in your bookmarks. Something like SortPrice.com, where all you need do is type in what you're looking for, and get back a list of selections with pictures, descriptions and links to purchase the item.
Put a sticky note on your laptop, a string around your finger, or whatever it takes to remind yourself to compare prices before you buy!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Since food is such a large part of our budgets we really need to focus on ways to save expenses in the eating category if saving money each month is a goal for us. Which means, yes, breaking the dreaded fast food habit. (If you are fast food/drive-thru clean already, congrats to you, and you may want to skip this post...)
The number one way I know of to try and not give in to the urge to grab some burgers and fries on the way home from work, little league, ballet, etc... is to make our freezers our best friends! Seriously, what would be your own personal motivation for heading to the nearest fast food drive-thru, or picking up the phone and ordering a pizza? Sure, you might actually have a craving for some greasy fries and hot pepperoni, but usually it is all about saving time and being too tired to cook a meal, right?
So to help deal with those reasons, we need to be prepared by having fast yet healthy and delicious food to go in our freezers. And this can be accomplished with surprisingly little effort really.
Say you are making a meatloaf for dinner tonight. Make 3 meatloafs instead. Little time and effort needed as you are already cooking anyway, right? Take two meatloafs out of the oven when they are about 70%-80% cooked, wrap in freezer bags, date them, and freeze them.
When you have dinner with meatloaf, potatoes and veggies (just an example here,) take the leftovers and make individual meals. Put leftover meatloaf, potato and veggie on a paper plate. Put it in a freezer bag, mark it and date it, and you have a frozen dinner ready to go!
Spend some extra time on the weekend preparing food for the freezer. Make breakfast burritos, spaghetti sauce, chicken, casseroles, etc. It really will save you money, time and be better for you and your family's health. Plus, you will find it much easier to kick that fast food habit!