5 Ways I Saved & Earned – Summer Break Edition

When it comes to getting ahead financially, you can spend less or earn more. You can also do both.

Early on in our careers, we spent time scaling back. I got really good at saving–maybe a little too good. Over time, we’ve both climbed across our salary schedules and started other income streams. When we had the options to work both levers at once, we really started to fly toward our goals.

Then the pandemic happened. Getting ahead financially is now more or less treading water while trying to account for so many unknowns. Still, I am grateful that we have multiple levers to pull. 

We’re in the middle of the weirdest summer break ever, and I thought I’d share how this two-teacher household is saving and earning.

Deferred Pay

“It must be nice to work 9 months and get paid for 12.” I’m not going to try to justify my job to anyone who makes this comment. (But I will say that we’re always hiring! Now more so than ever!) What most people don’t realize is that I’m not paid to not work–I’m simply deferring my pay. Instead of taking my salary over 10 months, my district spreads it out over 12 months comprised of 26 pay periods. So I’m still snagging my regular paycheck right now!

(My husband gets a lump sum at the beginning of summer which always feels like we’ve won the lottery, until I remember what happened and why. Then, I’m mostly annoyed that we can’t ever be paid the same way or at the same time.)

Continue Freelancing

This has been such a hard summer to be a teacher. Usually, I’m delirious with excitement over back-to-school plans by now. But everything is yo-yoing around this year–from what I’m teaching and how I’m teaching to who I’m teaching and when.

When I’m stressed and anxious, I love diving into a to-do list. Unfortunately, my back-to-school to-do list is one giant question mark. Thankfully, I’m still able to freelance. Having other tasks to do that I really enjoy has helped take my mind off things. Knowing that I’ve generated other income streams through editing, ghostwriting, and designing curriculum is a huge relief.

Put Books on Hold

HP has a new obsession with search & find books. We’ve been gifted several, and I bought a ton last summer for a quarter a piece at a used book sale. He’s been asking for more, and I started loading up my shopping cart at Book Outlet. Then, I realized our library is back open!

Thankfully, our library was remodeled several years ago to include a drive-up service. Think of visiting a bank for books! It’s truly no contact, and it’s very convenient. So I put some new-to-us search and find books on hold and scooped them up.

RELATED POST: What Free & Frugal Fun with a Toddler Looks Like Lately

Ordered From Poshmark Instead

I was really tempted to finish up our toddler fall/winter shopping at Kohl’s last week. In fact, my online shopping cart was quite full. Before I clicked over to the check out, I decided to browse Poshmark. I was so delighted by what I found.

I’ve only made two other purchases from Poshmark. I was pleased with both, but we’ve received so many hand-me-downs up until this point, I haven’t had to do a ton of shopping. Sadly, HP has lapped his hand-me-down pal. The used clothes now flow the other way!

Thanks to Poshmark, I was able to snag 8 long sleeve shirts for $8 and 2 pairs of like-new bib overall snow pants for $9. Of course, there’s also a shipping charge unlike Kohl’s (usually). At this point, I’m all too happy to support the USPS, though, and no amount of coupon code stacking was going to come close to $4.50 for a pair of Columbia snow pants!

PS – Here’s my referral link if you want to give Poshmark a try. I believe I get a credit at some point if you use it, and I know you do!

Snag Cashback with Ibotta

I don’t use Ibotta all that often. It’s a really handy app for me when I’m stocking up on booze (that’s my home run swing for Christmas gifts!). But we do a lot of our regular shopping at Aldi, so there aren’t a lot of brand name items for me to scan.

However, I’ve been doing a fair amount of grocery shopping lately at Target. They’ve had some really good prices, and their store is very empty in the morning. Be still my frugal, mask-wearing heart! They had KIND breakfast bars on super sale, so I bought a box for me. Then, I realized I hadn’t been to our community micropantry in a while, so I bought four more boxes to drop off. I made an easy $5 cashback when I snapped a photo of my receipt.

So Tell Me…How have you saved or earned this summer?


  1. You have the best luck with Poshmark, both buying and selling!

    Our biggest savings is simply not paying for childcare and other childcare connected expenses. That was $2000 a month! We are spending a lot in other areas that we’d normally be much more restrained in but that line item is so big that we’re still coming out ahead even while spending parts of it elsewhere.

    Of course I’ve also spent the last two months chasing down my $10 reward from Achievement so that part of me still remains.

    It’s a very weird time.

    Does Ibotta do referral bonuses? I’ve not tried them yet but it might be time to!

  2. I can say the following, if saving makes it possible to replenish your emergency fund or save up for some major purchase, then this is 100% success. I wish everyone financial independence!

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