Do you do that thing before bed each night where you refresh your account balances? No? Maybe it’s just me. I’m not entirely sure what it is I think I’ll find, but I suppose on some level, I’m checking to see whether or not I still need to set my alarm clock for work.
Of course, I’m lucky enough to love what I do. But I wouldn’t mind at all to open an app and discover that I’m suddenly independently wealthy.
Since that hasn’t happened yet and my salary is pretty much set in stone thanks to the salary schedule, I’m still consistently on the hunt for ways to save money and ways to earn money, too.
This week started out chilly, but then it ended with a few days of sunshine and spring-like temperatures. The fact that we were able to get outside so much always helps us save. Here’s a look at some other things I did to keep some extra green in our bank account this week.
5 Ways to Save
I am my own worst enemy when it comes to spending. I out-earn my husband, and I put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to keep us on the path for financial independence. But my dad consistently tells my husband, “She also spends more money than you ever will.” And, uh, he’s not wrong. This week, I tried out a trick to keep myself in check and saved a few other ways, too.
Leave My Wallet At Home
This weekend, we ran errands to the library and grocery store. My husband had his wallet (he was driving!), so I left mine at home. It’s not like we don’t have identical credit cards in both our wallets. It’s just one small way that I try to curb my impulse buys. I also made a mental note to try this the next time we go to Target.
Skip Snack Bars
My husband is a PE teacher, so he burns eleventy billion calories a day (and goes through at least two shirts and two pairs of socks — don’t even talk to me about how much laundry we do). So he eats a lot. Normally, I stock up on box after box of snack bars and cookies or other treats. This weekend, though, I made two trays of brownies and two loaves of banana bread. To save myself from myself, I’m sending everything to work with him.
RELATED POST: How Not To Save
Stock the Freezer
We have a small kitchen by modern suburban home standards. It’s still plenty spacious, but it’s nothing like you’d see on HGTV (unless you were watching a show with a couple complaining about a kitchen that didn’t have a pantry). To reduce food waste and keep our counters clear, we don’t keep much more than a week or two of groceries on hand at a time. The exceptions are spices (some are older than my son!) and baking ingredients. To curb my impulse to go out to eat, I’m stocking up on frozen pizza and ravioli. With Lent coming up, I want to have easy meals on hand that everyone likes. Plus, I don’t want to give into the excuse of not having ingredients for meatless meals.
Ditch the Meat
One local grocery store sells cage-free chicken very inexpensively. But inexpensive meat is still more pricey than grains and veggies. This week, I made black bean and sweet potato tacos again. It’s so inexpensive, and my husband and toddler devoured them. I really love them, too, even as leftovers. I’m going to keep working on finding more easy meatless meal ideas.
I know some of you instantly cringed. But hear me out! Years and years ago, we were given a lovely wool throw blanket. We used it and used it, and then we tucked it away once HP turned into a toddler. Now, we have a relative in a care facility who is always cold. I bought her a comforter for her bed, and I was going to buy a smaller throw blanket to wrap her in when she is in her wheelchair. Then, I remembered the wool blanket we tucked away. It’s the perfect size for not tangling with her chair’s wheels, and she looks so sweet and cozy in it. I took the money I saved to the bakery and bought treats for the nursing staff and the office staff. And then I bought her the biggest apple fritter I could find.
5 Ways to Earn
This week doesn’t include any of my regular teaching work (I get paid next week!), and it doesn’t include any freelancing. Instead, I wanted to focus on small ways that I tried to quickly pick up some extra cash. Here’s what I did this week.
I really could have used my plan period to plan, grade, contact home, and post grades. But the sub shortage continues in our district. Shockingly (and by shockingly, I mean not at all surprisingly), people are frequently out on Fridays. Also shockingly, Fridays are the least popular day of the week for subs to sign up for shifts. So that meant I said yes again when the office asked. After taxes, it’ll be about $15. Most importantly, I’m helping my school and our office staff.
Redeem Shopkick Points
This app is really hands-off for me. You can definitely get a lot more of out this app than I currently do by scanning receipts and making purchases. I mostly just turn it on when I’m walking past stores like Marshall’s. I noticed that they now allow you to cash out on PayPal. I had enough points for the smallest amount, so I did it. I’m not sure this deal will last long, so I jumped on it! This is $10 to our Christmas savings account.
If you want to give Shopkick a go, here’s my referral link – we both get 250 points.
RELATED POST: Should I Worry About Christmas in July?
Cross a Benchmark in a Study
Last week, I talked about how I use Achievement to earn a bit of money. I don’t really use it. I basically clicked it once to set it up and maybe check on it every month or two. It monitors my FitBit steps mostly. It does have a bunch of other features that I don’t take advantage of, except I did agree to be part of a health study. The information they gather is minimal and its self reported, so it seems OK. I’ll do a full post on this at the end of the study, but I got the $10 PayPal bonus for being admitted into the study. We shall see if the rest of the money shows up!
Cash in a Fetch Gift Card
I have a whole series of grocery receipt and shopping apps, including Fetch. I use this in tandem with Ibotta and Receipt Hog. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve started writing this series or because I’m growing weary of keeping money tied up in apps, but I decided to cash out for an Amazon gift card here, too. I try not to shop on Amazon often, and I basically decided to squirrel away all my Amazon gift cards for Christmas. If it’s anything like this past Christmas, I will redeem them for gift cards like Sephora and Lowe’s. This $25 is stashed away for now.
Spot Now Hiring Signs
Job Spotter was my tool of choice for filling up last year’s Christmas fund. This year? Not so much. The interface has changed a few times, and they seem to be revising point values quite a bit. At first, I thought things were going to be valued about the same. After finding two mom & pop shops that were hiring that no one had submitted yet and only earning about 40 cents each, I think I’m putting this on the back burner. If nothing else, it’s good exercise. All said, I earned less than $2 this week.
Final Thoughts on How I Saved and How I Earned This Week
After writing this recap, I really spent some time looking at this week’s earnings. The amounts are relatively small compared to the earnings that I pull in from freelancing and ghostwriting. However, I really enjoy looking at the various ways that I can earn cash and gift cards for just a bit of clicking. If nothing else, it’s going to make for a stress-free Christmas season. Or at least, it’ll take the financial stress out of the holidays.
Pssst…If you missed how last week went, here’s how I saved and earned then.
So Tell Me…How did you save last week? Are you trying anything out to grow your earnings?
OMG. It’s like you read our grocery confessions post about how we feed our family for so little. We eat vegetarian, cool all our food from scratch, and avoid prepackaged food like it is filled with mercury. Of course the downside of that is that Mrs. Gov spends 472957372 hours a week in our non-HGTV kitchen. I think there’s balance to be found there and hopefully you’re close to finding it!
Yes! I am trying to be mindful of the trade off. Brownies are easy peasy, and our banana bread recipe is simple, too. Trying to slowly acquire more good and SIMPLE recipes…without 4384645361235 things to clean up afterward (even though my husband kindly volunteers to do a lot of this!).
Start trying to earn extra money on Poshmark unfortunately posted two things and after that app will not allow multiple pictures from my mobile device. Will try to figure out the problem this week and get back at it. Plenty of clothes and shoes I no longer wear since retiring. Ghostwriting sounds interesting – how did you get started?
Hi, Avis! Ghostwriting is actually one of the best things that comes out of blogging anonymously. Since I don’t get personal credit for this writing, I think people started to guess (correctly!) that I’d be happy to write without getting a byline for my work.
I’ve never heard that about Poshmark. I haven’t listed any items this month. I wonder if that’s an update with the app that I haven’t noticed yet. That sounds super frustrating to not be able to list photos easily!
JobSpotter has become such a disappointment. Between more people using it, and less pay for first-spotter submissions, I got a whopping $4 and change from my recent travels. Usually that was good for $20+ as I explored a new city.
I am so glad that this isn’t just me. I’ve been purposely waiting for the dots to turn dark green before snapping the photos, too! The most recent “high value” dot they had coded netted me a whopping…15 cents. Hard pass.
I’m glad to hear that Jobspotter has become a disappointment. I had serious FOMO since all my other Twitter friends talk about it. Now I can safely say that I did MO, and no longer need to fear not joining.
I really like this new series! It makes me realize the small things I can be looking out for in my life too.
Thanks, Sarah! That makes me so happy to hear!
One of my 2020 resolutions was to have one meatless meal per day. It was mostly for environmental reasons, but I’m pleasantly surprised by how much my weekly grocery bills have gone down. Are you a tempeh fan? I think it’s an acquired taste, but I am finding I actually really look forward to having it in my meals, and it’s pretty cheap too. I’ve got to look into these black bean and sweet potato tacos…
I like tempeh when I’ve had it prepared for me. But I’m so bad at recipes with that…or even tofu. I obviously just need to practice more and stop letting myself off the hook!
Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor
I have yet to dive into the world of savings apps. I do occasionally sell stuff on eBay, but I hate selling stuff and I’m awful at it so I’m dragging my feet on the few items I need to post.
I do save by cooking and baking a lot, although with school age kids the requests for prepackaged stuff has increased. Maybe you’d like making granola bars? Allrecipe’s “Playgroup Granola Bars” are a hit at my house, and are very filling. (I reduce the brown sugar by half.) The honey makes them expensive but you can sub other liquid sweeteners if you want.
Also, we tapped our one suburban maple tree and we make enough syrup for our family for the year. We spend on propane to boil down the sap, but it’s still cheaper than buying real maple syrup.
I just tried to post a couple of JobSpotter hiring signs from mom and pops store and to my disappointment I didn’t get a lot out of it. Got about thirty cents altogether. When I started doing it last year that would have been close to a dollar for each. So I may need to delete the app, not worth it anymore unfortunately.
Done by Forty
Those black bean and sweet potato tacos sound like a great meatless meal option: something I really should be working into our diets more.
Thanks for the helpful tips, Penny. I find myself coasting on the income front (my salary seems similarly predictable as of late, with the same raises and bonuses each year). Maybe it’s time to try to do a little extra. 🙂