Turning Your Hobby into Vacation Savings #savingsunday

Photo Dec 03, 9 37 51 AM

Many of us have hobbies that we don’t even realize are hobbies. I an artist that loves to create to which I made my hobby of crocheting and sewing into a part-time business. Some people love to make woodwork items. Some people love to draw or paint. Some people love to write (another hobby that I love and why I started this blog). Some people love numbers and balancing them. There are so many different hobbies that people might not recognize in themselves.

These hobbies can make you a little extra cash for that family vacation that you are saving for. For example with a creative hobby, you can sell some of your creations. With a writing hobby, you can start a blog and make some extra money by advertising or doing sponsored posts for companies. For a numbers lover, you can offer your services to others like balancing their finances or helping others create a household budget. You can’t believe the ways you can make money by helping others.

When selling your creations, you can share those creations on your social media for friends and family to see and purchase. Also, you can use my post from last week and list your creations for sale on different local groups where you can meet up with the person to sell your creation in person. There are handmade websites like Etsy or Artfire to sell your creations but you will need to ship the items so you will have to determine your shipping prices. Last, you can look for local craft and vendor shows that have people come to you to sell your creations. These are all great and easy ways to make some extra money off of your hobby!

Update on our Vacation Savings: We didn’t do much shopping this week but a lot of selling. Shopping savings was only $25 because we really didn’t need to buy anything besides dog food which at petco we saved $15 between a coupon and our petco rewards. Plus, I had a few coupons that I used to get the few things we needed. As for the apps, nothing this week. Next week, Christmas shopping will get underway so this will hopefully change. As for selling, it was a big week on the yard sale groups for me. Most of what I sold was Danyella’s old clothes now that I have more of them organized to list. This brought in an extra $60 for the vacation savings and $60 for Christmas spending. Lastly, I sold more of my handmade creations and brought in an extra $30 for vacation and $30 for Christmas. Total for vacation savings for this week: $130 and overall $389! We are still off track for what we need to hit for goals but we are getting there. I can’t complain considering I am on bed rest with my pregnancy and getting this all worked out!

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Ordering Your Groceries #savingsunday

Order YourGroceries

One of the best decisions that I have ever made was to order my groceries from our local grocery store. This is a service that Shoprite has offered for a few years but I thought I was better then paying the fee to have someone else do my shopping for me. Boy was I WRONG!

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Shoprite offers either a pick up or home delivery service. After hearing my coworker talk so much love on the pick up service, I decided to give it a try and I am so glad that I did because all I had to do was create my order, pick my time slot, pull into a designated parking spot, open my trunk for them to load my car (blue bags are your cold items) and drive home! Super simple and easy.

Over the past year of using this service, Shoprite has made many changes to make it easier on the customer to use this service which I love because I can order right from my phone when I have spare time. Another great upgrade is that they save your prior list so you can shop from products you have already purchased without searching for them.

When you begin your order, you have the option of adding items from a previous purchase list, a saved list, the interactive weekly flyer (this my preference), browsing departments or searching for the item.  There have been times where I have had to input a specific item and then they call me to verify the item for my order but this has been rare. Keep adding all the items you need and want on your order.

One great thing about shopping online is that you are not being sucked into those impulse purchases. I know that even a “quick trip” to Target can add an easy $100 to my bill because you see other things that you might “need” and just throw them into your cart. This helps curve those extra items that in the end you really don’t want or need in your home.

Next, let’s talk about additional ways you can save with Shoprite from Home. You can use coupons, whether they are the digital ones that you can upload from Shoprite’s site/app or paper coupons or both! This is the best way to help save money because you can get those sale items plus coupons and get them for just a fraction of what the cost would have been. For example, about a month ago Arm and Hammer laundry detergent was on sale for $1.99 (small bottle but still a great deal) plus I had $1 coupons from coupons.com which means I got 4 bottles for just $4. We have only gone through one of those bottles and I do alot of laundry in my house.

Once you sign up with Shoprite from Home, you will begin to receive emails from them with different incentives including codes to get a discount when you purchase so much in groceries (before your coupons). Most times it is $20 off an order of $200 or more which we easily hit with our monthly order. Yes, we only put in one big order a month and then purchase the small stuff like milk and veggies on a weekly basis because they go bad or are eaten faster then a month. I see that savings code as helping to pay the Shop from Home fee so to me it is win/win.

When you select your payment method, pay cash because then you will get the money back from the coupons immediatly instead of it being applied to your Shoprite account and then you actually have to go into the store to purchase items in order to use that money. Now I have talked about the fee and here it is… $10 for the service. That is so small compared to what I am gaining and saving out of it. Last month’s bill should have been about $250 and with the coupons and code, I was able to bring it down to $202 which could have been lower but I didn’t have all my coupons organized (another post for another day).

All in All, I love the shop from home service because it saves me so much time, hassle from dealing with other people and most importantly, money! I know that Walmart has started the pick up service but I have yet to try it…. now I am motivated to research and try their service soon.

This post was not commissioned and is just my opinion on their service. If you would like to check out their service or see if there is a Shoprite in your area click this LINK

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Make Extra Money on Facebook

Since I run a handmade business and love to SHOP, my house has a tendency to have a lot of stuff or as my boyfriend sees it… clutter! To me, I know where everything (ok almost everything) is and everything has a place (are you singing Mary Poppins yet?) but to him, he just sees stuff everywhere. Now that we prepare to move, it is time to declutter my house and this has been my easiest solution for the past couple of years…. Facebook.

Before Facebook had a marketplace to sell your items, local people created yard sale groups for their area. I belong to 10, maybe more, of these yardsale groups for either my area in general or kids exclusive groups. I live on the border of 2 states so I have an added benefit for these groups to travel 5 minutes to the dark side (which is what I like to  Pennsylvania lol).

Since I know that I won’t stop shopping because either someone in the family needs something (kids, dancing, school, etc), my business needs something (new ideas pop in my head all the time), or my tastes in home decor changes, I came up with a plan a few years ago to find 10 (sometimes more) things each month to list and sell on these groups. After I saw some success with selling, months where I needed a little more for bills or another expense, I would declutter and purge more items to cover the money for it.

Now that Facebook has added a Marketplace, the ease of selling your “clutter” has become even easier because you can list it in one general area and add it to your yard sale groups. I tend to get more sales from the yardsale groups then the Marketplace but the more places you have them listed, the more exposure which can find the one person that wants it in their life. The best-selling items have been home decor, baby/kids items and women’s clothing/shoes and handbags but people will list everything and anything. At the holidays, I will list my handmade items and make even more money plus I have helped build my customer base this way.

So how does this selling your clutter on Facebook work? These are my tips to be successful in selling your clutter on Facebook.

  1. Find a notebook to keep track of what you list on Facebook to sell, how much you list/sell it for and when it is sold. It helps to make life easier so you know what is for sale and what isn’t plus I love to see how much I make.
  2. Besides the Facebook Marketplace, join Facebook yard sale groups. If you search your town or area and add yardsale, you will find groups to join and if you have kids add kids yardsale in your search.
  3. ALWAYS take pictures in daylight to give people a true sense of the colors. I hate when I see a listing and people don’t have a picture or the picture is so dark, you can’t even make out what it is.
  4. Be as descriptive as you can with your details. If it is something for the home or bag, give them measurements. With clothing, give them sizes plus long/short sleeve etc. The more detail the better the interest.
  5. When writing out your description, give them a location (I tell them my town since I live near another state) you are willing to meet them and write cross posted. Don’t ask me why but if someone sees an item on multiple groups and it doesn’t say Cross Posted, they tend to lose their shit and start going off in the comment section before you can even respond. (Like they are not human and make mistakes).
  6. When you set up a meetup, do this in public. I know some police stations have designated areas just for this now. Since where I live, I give 2 options for either side of my town… Walmart or Big Lots. By the end of the conversation (this will happen over messenger), you will want to agree on a location (make them come as close to you as possible since you are trying to make money not spend it on gas meeting them) and make/model/color of the car they will be in. I have made the mistake of not getting car info from them and then they either don’t show or I go through anxiety wondering who it is parking next to me and is it my meetup person.

Since being on bed rest and out of work the past month, we need make up the difference in money plus I needed to get rid of stuff for the move. I went through the house and placed items on our dining room table (which is now a cluttered mess) and began to list about 100 different things. Out of the 100 different things that I listed, I sold most of them and made over $500. I am not saying I can do this every month but, even when I make $100 a month it has helped with groceries (you know all those little items you need like milk, eggs and bread). If you saved the $100 a month you made decluttering your house, that is $1200 for Christmas (which brings in more stuff into the house) or a vacation! What would spend the extra money on?

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My Favorite Savings App

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With the hundreds of money saving apps out there it is hard to decide which one is worth your time to download and use. When I was introduced to the FREE IBOTTA app, I was clueless about how it worked but I was intrigued because my friend Erin raved about it. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose just to download it and try it…

One thing I had to learn was the Ibotta uses rebates which collect in your account and you can redeem for money or gift cards. (I will get into that later) Now please now that rebates are different from coupons because with coupons you get the money discounted at the register so pay less. With rebates, you get the money back AFTER you purchase the item.

I was right and super happy that I followed my instinct to try this app out. They have rebates for major stores and websites like Walmart, Amazon, Target plus other local stores which for me the big one is Shoprite. You can search for the type of rebate you want or browse through the stores they offer rebates.

Now please now that rebates are different from coupons because with coupons you get the money discounted at the register so pay less. With rebates, you get the money back AFTER you purchase the items.

Normally, I use Ibotta for my grocery shopping at either Walmart, Target and Shoprite. They seem to be the ones I get the most rebates for plus bonus rebates. (Yes I said bonus rebates…. just wait because it is cool) Honestly, I prefer Walmart because when you go to redeem your rebates all you do is scan the QR code at the bottom of the receipt instead of taking a picture of the ENTIRE receipt. With the other stores, at least so far, you have to take a picture of the entire receipt and if it is to dark or blurry then they reject it and you have to start all over. I just get to frustrated to deal with that sometimes.

After all of that information I am sure you are a little lost, so let me walk you through the process. You must begin this process BEFORE you go shopping because the rebates only count if they are selected before you purchase something! Select the store or rebate you want to look at, click the specific rebate you are interested in, click to get the rebate, complete either the survey or watch the video (its a pain but worth the rebates) and then you can check whether the item you are looking at in the store is qualified for the rebate (sometimes specific flavors or types of items are excluded), purchase your qualifying items, redeem your rebates then watch the money grow in your account.

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Let’s talk about the cool bonuses they offer! If you connect your account through Facebook then everytime one of your friends joins Ibotta they become part of your “team”. When you have a team of friends, you and your friends earn towards different levels of bonuses everytime you redeem a rebate. These rebates start at $1 when you personally redeem 8 rebates and your team redeems $10 in rebates. Then you have different bonuses from manufacturers, stores/sites or Ibotta boosts (the company will give you an added bonus for redeeming so many rebates in a specific time period). These bonuses are how I have really made some extra money.

The last bonus is the invite your friends bonus where you can make $5 for each friend that joins under your referral code. The bonuses escalate with each friend you have join under your code which can add up really fast. I have yet to have someone join under my code because I am not pushy at getting my friends to do the things I am doing. I will share it on my Facebook or Twitter once in a while but that is about it.

 

Last but not least the awesome ways you can redeem your rebates! First you can withdrawl the rebates for cash into your Paypal or venmo accounts with a $20 minimum. Or you can redeem your rebates for cool gift cards like Itunes, Uber, Walmart, Amazon, tons of restuarants and other stores. Each of these gift cards has a minimum that needs to be in your account before you can redeem them. Personally, I use my bonuses to redeem Regal Movies Gift Cards  because Danyella and I love to go to the movies. One $25 gift card is enough for us to buy movie tickets and then I just need the money for snacks. Photo Aug 20, 11 38 13 AM

So far, I have redeemed $271 in rebates over the past year and a few months! That is alot of movies we have seen just for buying things we use. Another nice thing about this app has been finding new foods or brands that I wouldn’t have normally tried but saw a good rebate so I tried it anyway and now have a new favorite. There is money to be made and fun you can have with this app so I highly recommend it. For the little time it takes to find the rebates, you can earn FREE money for the purchases you would be making anyways.

 

If you are interested in the Ibotta App here is the link to the website or you can find it for your smartphone in your itunes or android/google store. 85b1e55bab94bd80c698b64c678125f7

*For those of you that do not want to use the app there is a website version that you can add the rebates to your account but you need the app in order to redeem the rebates.

**Please note that is not a paid endorsement from Ibotta but a review with my own opinions and love for the app and company.

Do Coupons Really Matter?

Photo Aug 13, 12 15 01 PMFor more years than I want to admit, I have been couponing on and off…. though more off then on because I would either forget it was Sunday to buy the papers, I was too lazy to cut the coupons before I went shopping or I would just forget the coupons at home when I was already in the grocery store. Also, I was doubtful that I was really saving any money because I would have to purchase 2 or 3 of a product just to get the $1 off. Well this past week taught me the lesson that I need to learn to be frugal and that there are good coupons and deals if I just pay attention!

So we all know of the extreme couponers that have a format to how they coupon and purchase like $200 worth of groceries for $20 (maybe a little extreme but not really if you watch the shows and documentaries). In my mind, those extreme couponers were a little crazy and had too much time on their hands which I didn’t have. Well now I do have the time on my hands and the financial need to cut down on our spending costs so I better start paying attention to what they are doing and copying their money-saving ways.

My lesson from last week is this…. Shoprite (our local go to grocery store for good deals) had Arm & Hammer laundry detergent on sale for $1.99 plus there was a coupon out in the world for a $1 off the detergent which means you can buy the detergent for just $.99! Well that $1 savings could go towards the fresh fruit and veggies that my family devours in a day or less. Lately, my go to couponing place (when I would remember to look) has been coupons.com because I can easily print of the coupons and why would I need to go over their limit of only printing the coupon 1 time when I don’t usually stock up on things.

Lesson learned because we go through detergent so often with a furry puppy (yes I am one of those anal, I HATE FUR people so I was things almost everyday to keep the fur in control) that I could have purchased 10 bottles easily for $1 but I only had 1 coupon for regular detergent and 1 coupon for the sensitive skin (Danyella and the new baby). So I ordered (yes I order my groceries which will be a future post) 1 bottle of regular scented detergent and 1 bottle of the senstive skin detergent and used my coupons. After putting the groceries away, I was kicking myself in the ass about the detergent situation so I waddled my ass around Shoprite to get more of the detergent without the coupons. (insert crying face emoji here haha)

Next lesson on coupons I learned…. I may never become one of those extreme couponers but this morning I got out of bed early (a rarity just ask my boyfriend) and went to Wawa to purchase 2 Sunday papers to get those coupons. As I am cutting the coupons from 2 different papers (don’t know why I decided to try 2 different papers but something told me to do it), I find out that not all papers have the same damn coupons! The one paper had more coupons than the other but the other paper had a rebate coupon that doesn’t expire until March of next year. Shit now do I buy 2 of each of those papers?

This is a bit overwhelming and a little exciting at the same time. I am trying to find other ways to save money before this baby gets here and we have to add baby stuff to the grocery list. Since this is going to be an ongoing challenge for me, I am starting a series on couponing and saving on Sundays. If you have any tips or stories of your own please feel free to comment below.

New Day Different Stress

stressAs if this pregnancy hasn’t been hard enough to deal with, but each day has brought something new to stress about which living in good ole America means…. money or lack there of. A woman going through a pregnancy is told to keep her stress level to a minimum for the health of herself and the baby but add a high risk, possible pre-term labor pregnancy and you are told do not be stressed out at all! Oh how I wish life was that easy!

Since June, the stressors have been hitting me left and right with each one having a bigger impact than the last. In June, while I was on my one and only girls trip to Las Vegas (planned nearly a year in advance and the thought of a baby was not even in existence), I receive a frantic phone call from my boyfriend that someone is trying to change the locks on our house! WTF!! After calming him down, making several pissed off phone calls to my landlord and trying not to ruin my trip, I find out that the house we have been renting was foreclosed on and my landlord never told the bank he was renting it so the bank was coming to seize the property! So my landlord had to email me a letter stating we were renting the property because he had not updated my lease which was asked multiple times since November. One crisis diverted…. onto the next one!

Jump to a couple of weeks ago when I get notice in the mail that my insurance did not cover a single one of my baby appointments because they cancelled my insurance. WTF!! Now I am hormonal and dealing with a crisis so I automatically start crying and freaking out at the same time. I call the insurance company, who first tells me that they cancelled the insurance and reactivated it to May because they didn’t receive my premium for May. Mind you they accepted my payment for June and July and never said a single word in 2 months about May until they cancelled the policy. I am frantic on the phone with them who connects me with the company that I bought my policy from and tells me just pay them and then we can reinstate it. Well this company tells me NO! When the policy is cancelled it is cancelled sorry and hangs up. So I call the insurance company back…. now I am told that I cannot receive insurance in the good ole USA until open enrollment in November or have a life changing event. The girl goes on to tell me that if I have the baby early then I can get coverage….. I am 14 weeks (at that point) I cannot have my baby for months you crazy bitch! So now I am really flipping the hell out and all my boyfriend can say is “we will figure it out”. Well now the doctor’s office is calling me about why everything is getting kicked back from my insurance including the progesterone shots that I desperately need to start next week. Thankfully the nurse called the manufacture and was able to get me a charity set of shots until I can “sort out my insurance”. Though I do need to pay for the visits which means $250 every 2 weeks for the ultrasound that the doctor needs and I am not sure what the nurse visits will cost. Well to sort out my insurance I would need to either quit my job, claim self employed under my business and pay $500 a month which I do not have OR marry my boyfriend which will never happen as he made very clear to me (another blog post for the future). So for right now I am stuck in a rut with this stressor.

Yesterday, I find out that the house we are still living in is now being auctioned by Auction.com on August 1st…. WT double F!!!! So after some research, I find out that once the house is sold through this site we will have 1 of 2 options, receive a 90 day eviction notice or have our lease changed which means an increase in rent! FML!! I can barely afford the bills that we have because I am down to working only 4 days a week and should be on bed rest. Now I am trying to figure out how we are coming up with the money to move into a new place plus find a new place and keep current on the bills that we do have.

A new Day…. A new Stessor! Now to look at the upside of things… 1.I do still have a place to live in, even if it is for 90 days 2. My baby is receiving care because of a very caring nurse. 3. I have a business that I can restart to make money while I make my game plan 4. I have a house full of stuff to sell on the Facebook yard sale groups to help raise money for my moving and medical expense. 5. I am 16 weeks today and Baby Evelynne is the size of an Avocado!!