I’ve been a Stay at Home Mom for just over 6 months now and to be completely honest, I’m still adjusting. Prior to deciding to stay at home I had worked 2-3 jobs at a time for the past decade. At the end I was down to one but as the parent of a small baby, Hubs and I were struggling to manage childcare so she wouldn’t have to leave our home. While we are doing okay budget-wise, a little extra cash never hurts.
So I’m working towards making money at home. I want to be able to contribute more financially to our household. If I can pay off my car and house loans sooner than anticipated that would be a super huge bonus. Everyone knows that those interest rates can get you. And even if your interest rates are phenomenal, that’s still extra money that you have to pay.
So like the madwoman that I am, I set off to obsessively read about any and all outlets. Let me tell you what, there are a TON of posts pertaining to this very topic. Unfortunately the vast majority of them aren’t applicable to me. At this time, I don’t have a business to sell a product nor am I creative enough to market any skills. I don’t think I have the ability to write an eBook right now. And, I’m not so tech savvy that I can do some of the technical online work nor do I have certifications to do any transcription. So what are viable options? Below is a list of what I am currently working on. I will be updating this at the end of the year to evaluate what is working and worthy of my time and effort.
** This post may contain affiliate links which means that I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. For my full disclaimer, click here.
Babysitting / House sitting / Dog sitting
This is the option that I am most excited about. I have the opportunity to babysit a cousin of Squeak’s. Of course, it does benefit that I will make some money from this. But what I am most excited about is she will have a peer to play with without the hassle of having to schedule play dates. Plus, it will give me a taste of what having another child will be like. I’m curious to see how Squeak adjusts to having a playmate and how he adjusts to having a playmate smaller than him. They are so cute and my ovaries may explode! Or they could just jump ship because I’ve got two toddlers running around. We shall see.
While the next bit does not apply directly to me, house sitting, senior care, and dog sitting / walking are all viable options. Websites like Care.com allow you to set up a profile and apply for jobs doing any or all of the above. They even have direct deposit options to make getting paid a breeze.
Start a Blog
It was not my intention to try to make a wads of cash when I started this blog. Sure, if I can make some change doing something that I thoroughly enjoy, that is a wonderful bonus. Honestly, if I only make enough to cover the cost of the hosting (I use Bluehost and they’re surprisingly affordable) for the year, I will feel like I’m ahead. I do have ads and I’ve made a whopping $0.30 so far. Woot! Only a lot more to go to cover my costs.
Now this isn’t to say that there aren’t people who make yearly salaries from their websites. Or more. Tons more. That’s not really my goal right now, but if you’d like to try, there is definitely money to be made. I just had to mention because it is numero uno on any side hustle list.
Affiliate marketing is essentially advertising a product and receiving a commission from the company. There are never any additional fees for the consumer. The company is paying for the help in making a sale. I am not a salesperson by nature so I DO NOT try to sell products that I don’t personally use. I think that is shady business, but that’s off topic.
Affiliate marketing is not just for bloggers. There are tons of users who are making money at home by utilizing affiliate marketing in social media. I’m not there yet, but I am exploring options for the future.
I am associated with Amazon Affiliates because you can get ANYTHING from Amazon. Plus the two day shipping with Amazon Prime is wonderful. Being as we live so far from any large box stores, it definitely saves us money. Mostly because I forgot something because I left the list sitting on the counter. Whoops!
ShareASale is another affiliate site that I’m becoming acquainted with. I find it appealing because ShareASale has more than 2,000 merchants to choose from. You apply to be an affiliate from the merchants that you love and support. So far, I am super pleased with the ease of use of their site. Again, I’m not going to advertise for anything that I do not love and use myself. And with so many merchants available, I can be choosy.
Awin is my last affiliate program that I’m currently affiliated with. I am still very new with it but the program and company are both very well reviewed across the board. I will update this post a little bit later when I have had time to familiarize myself with it.
As it stands right now, I haven’t made doodly from my affiliates yet. But, my content is low as is my traffic. I am confident that as my blog and traffic grow so will my affiliates.
Surveys or Offers for Cash
Now I was/am very skeptical about any earning potential, but these are ALWAYS on the list. Other bloggers seem to swear by the earning potential (up to as much as $20 / day). Which of course would be fantastic with the minimal effort required by most surveys. However, there have been some downsides which I will explain below.
Toluna Surveys –
This is the first survey site that I had signed up for. I’ll admit that I didn’t really do too much research behind the company beyond finding out if it was a legitimate site. The premise is you take surveys and accrue points. Later those points can be redeemed for a cash payment via PayPal. I had actually signed up and participated in the program a year ago. Granted, I do not take surveys everyday and ignore a lot of their emails (active 1 year old and all), but I am no where near collecting any money from this.
I do have a few complaints about the program so far. It is S-L-O-W going. Sure a survey may be worth 5,000 points, but that takes a long time to be worth anything. For example, I have 15,000+ points, but in order to redeem them for anything (chances at sweepstakes, prizes, etc.) I need at least 30,000. I can get a fidget spinner for 30,000 points. Nope. Not interested. Same goes for a variety of $10 gift cards.
Toluna Complaints Cont.
This next bit is not really a fault of Toluna’s but, I received so many email invitations for surveys, get started only to have it shut down half way through with the message that I’m not the demographic they are looking for. I want to point out that there are several sections of demographic surveys that Toluna requests you fill out so they can “better match you” with surveys. If they have my demographics on file, then they need to stop with this “I’m not what they’re looking for nonsense.” WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME, TOLUNA?
In doing more research, I have found that generally the reviews of Toluna are negative. They are a legit survey site, but it is almost painful to go through the motions to even make it worth my time. In fact, I think I’m going to go ahead and shut this down now. No checking back in 6 months here. 15,000 points be damned.
If you’re a Toluna user and have had a positive experience, please leave me some feedback of how you made it work for you.
MindField Online –
This is another survey site that I signed up for at the same time as Toluna. I have the same problem where a lot of the surveys that are emailed or offered I am disqualified for demographic reasons. I get it, some of the companies that are paying for the surveys want specific demographics. But again, I filled out information so they can better match me and still get a whole series of dead ends.
The perk of Mindfield Online is it is so much easier to get a cash payout. That was something that I did not see with Toluna. There is a $5 minimum for a payout and I have been sitting at $1 for over a year now. I’m probably going to let this one go as well. I will give this to the end of the year just to see if I can earn more than a buck between now and then. I take that back, I just checked my stats and I’ve been a member since November of ’14 and I’ve been credited for only one survey. Bye bye, Mindfield.
Any Mindfield users with good experiences, please let me know what the secret is.
Swagbucks is one of the number one outlets on any list by any blogger. It is super easy to use and there are TONS of ways to earn their swagbucks. From what I can see, the swagbucks are about $.10 of value so 2500 SB will get you a $25 gift card. Neatest part is they occasionally have “sales” so you can get gift cards for fewer SB. Granted, that is all subject to change so do not quote me on that.
While I am relatively new to SB I feel like the earning potential is far greater than the others. I am a chronic Googler, so I’ve bookmarked the SB search (which uses Yahoo!) to run my searches. Seems like an easy way to start banking up.
I have higher hopes for this one than the previous two. Will most definitely keep this one up for the next 6 months.
InboxDollars is another that I have been seeing consistently in posts. Like Swagbucks, there are multiple ways to earn cash. They have surveys, watching videos, signing up for associate content. A huge complaint that I have is the sheer number of emails that I receive daily. Plus if you put your phone number in any of the surveys, they will call you. Granted they will remove your number if you request it, but they always call me at naptime. Not helpful at all. My kid is bloodthirsty when she’s tired.
Aside from all of my previous complaints, it has been pretty easy to start making money. I believe the payout threshold is $20 so I can make my first payout pretty shortly. Like SB, I have high hopes for this one too. We’ll see what my number is with them at the end of the year.
Cash Back Programs
There are a variety of cash rebate programs available to consumers. The premise for programs/apps is usually to complete some task such as watching a video to unlock the rebate. Or in the case of Receipt Hog any information is used for market research. While I’ve had these apps downloaded for a while, I’ve never really utilized them much. Except for Ebates, I love Ebates.
Checkout51 is a phone app that lets you select products that they have offers for and you get rewarded for uploading your receipt to verify your purchase. The minimum payout is $20. My main complaint is the products they list are sometimes very specific and usually those things are not on our shopping list. But the list updates every week with new products. The other plus here is sometimes you can select multiple offers for the same products so if you buy more than one you get rewarded for however many.
Ibotta is very similar to Checkout51 insofar as you select the products that you purchased, upload your receipt, and get the rebate credited to your account. Both programs can be use ON TOP OF coupons as a means to make more of your money back. With Ibotta you occasionally have to watch a video or view an advertisement of some sort to unlock the rebate. The biggest perk of Ibotta over Checkout51 is they sometimes offer rebates on unbranded products. So you can buy any brand of milk, or soda, or bread and still get credit.
Ebates works essentially as affiliate marketing. They receive a commission for you purchasing through them and they share that rebate with you. The percentages vary from 1-10% depending on the merchant. However, I think of it like using coupons. If I’m going to purchase something anyway, why not get something back on it.
Receipt Hog –
Receipt Hog is my newest download and I hadn’t heard of it before last week. They work with market research companies and offer cash for uploading your receipts. They can be grocery, convenience store, clothing stores, whatever. I have not come across anything that hasn’t been accepted yet. The app also offers sweepstakes (I’m not interested in that so I have no real knowledge on it), games, and surveys as means to get more “coins”. The coins can be exchanged for a cash value as you accrue them.
I am still actively searching for new streams of potential revenue. Scout’s honor that I’m not hunting down surveys to try to live out some Champagne Fantasy. But if there anyone that has achieved this, please let me know how you’re liking it because it sounds humorous. Ultimately, I’d like to pay down debt and ease up some of the stress that comes along with being an adult. I’m very leery of the “If it looks too good to be true” scenarios so I’ve just got my toes in the water at this point.
Have you tried anything that has proven to be a viable (if unconventional) source of income? If so, leave me a comment below.