Thursday, November 3, 2016

My Side Hustles - How I make Extra Money

Full time job - 35 hours a week
After school care subbing - 5 hours a week
Etsy Store - 3 hours a week
Ebay Store - 3 hours a week
Perk Points - 28 hours a week (while at work)
Blogging - 2 hours a week
Craigslist - 30 minutes a week
Movie Theatre Secret Shopper - 45 minutes per week - ongoing
Food Perspectives - 1 hour a month
Secret Shopping - 3 hours a week

Full time job
I work as a office para at one of my local schools. I love my job. I have tons of alone time to think while I am working, have time to do my Perk Points (below) and work with some pretty amazing people. This job is fully benefited which is why I wanted to work for the school district. They have better benefits than my husband's place of employment, so bonus! I do also have summers off and get district school days off too, so there is an added bonus. During the summer, I sub at the after school programs, below.

After school care subbing
Before I was an office para, I worked at a before and after school program in the same school district. I thoroughly enjoyed that job, but the hours were killing me. I started super early in the morning, went home for four hours in the middle of the day (when the kids were in classes) and then went back to work until the last child was picked up. It didn't matter if you had evening plans or not, if a parent was late, you stayed. So when I switched to the new job, I took on subbing for the workers who were sick or on vacation. That way, I get my "hanging out with kids" fix and I am making some extra cash at the same time. I try to work for five hours a week so I am up to my full 40 hours a week on my paycheck. I get to pick and choose which days I want to work, which works out great around my schedule. It is rewarding and fun. Check with your school district if they have this type of opportunity available. I know my school district is always hiring subs.

Etsy Store
I have been selling on Etsy since 2012 and I love it. My husband and I sell jingle bells. Yes, jingle bells. It's a long and complicated story, but, our jingle bell sales reach about $2500 a year which is what we use to cover Christmas costs. We probably only have enough bells left to last us a couple more years, but we will have green bells into eternity. So there will always be bells available. I am trying to expand my Etsy store into more areas, but that involves more time to make or find items to sell. I plan on working harder on it this summer. With Etsy you can sell your handmade crafts, crafting supplies or vintage items. It is a fun website to search around on and see all the fun stuff others are making. You can check out our store HERE.

Ebay Store
Wow, I have been selling on Ebay since 2001. Honestly, I still remember when we started our account. Sitting in the basement of our house (2 houses ago) trying to figure out what our user name should be. We got real creative and went with JeffandMichelle real original, I know. We still list items for sale that we find interesting, and hubby almost always has car parts up for sale from one of his jobs. We do sell jingle bells here too which ended up being a great listing idea that hubby had. I just had them on Etsy, but Ebay brought in a whole new market. Now if you have something to sell, on Ebay you can sell it. Seriously, you can sell anything on Ebay. Searching around on Ebay can be a huge time suck, but it's fun. You can check out our store HERE.

Perk Points
This one is kind of still weird to me and won't be enough for you to ever retire on, but it is extra money while I am already working. You see, at my full time job, I listen to music all day long, or at least 6 hours of the day. While I am working I pull up the app, but first make sure you are on wi-fi or all of your data will be gone the first day! While on the app, I press a button that will listen to what song I am listening to. I have my phone plugged into the computer, so I don't drain battery, press the listening button and it listens. When it recognizes the song, it will ask if I want to watch a video. Turn the sound down on your phone and press yes. When the video is playing, continue working, and you will earn 2 Perk Points. When the next song comes on, repeat, and so on and so on. So what do these Perk Points get me? I cash them in for gift cards. If I am on top of my game, I end up getting a $15 gift card to the home improvement store of my choice every month. Like I said, not enough to retire on, but I am already listening to the music, why not make a small amount of change while doing so. I have also started streaming their videos to get the points to add up more quickly. You need to have it showing on your computer screen somewhere by making the screen smaller, and mine tends to crash quite a bit. No, I do not actually watch these videos, just stream them while you go about your computer business. You can check it out and sign up HERE.

Well you found this article, so you know what blogging is already. I started blogging when I was a stay-at-home mom and the housing market was starting to burst. My first blog was helping other stay-at-home moms to coupon, find freebies and save money. That blog was great, until I went back to work full-time and found that I didn't have time to keep up with it anymore. This blog was started when we started selling jingle bells. Yup, it was to accompany my Etsy store. It has morphed into my whole life, but it is still fun to share the little things I have learned along the way. Now, I don't do this blog full time like many others out there, so I am not killing it in the cash inflow area like I know some are. But it seems when we need a little extra cash for something, a check appears in the mail that was revenue from this blog. The two main sources of income from my blog are from the ads and from the coupons at the bottom. I do not sell my spaces or articles like other blogs do. Now if the right company came along with the right offer, that could change, who knows.

My family uses Cragislist to get rid of larger items that we have in our house to make some extra money. We made over $250 in one weekend once selling off stuff we didn't need anymore on Craigslist. Listing is easy and fast, and you don't even need it to look professional. Normally items will sell within just a few days if somebody is really looking for it. Word of advice though, I am a worry wart, and I refuse to be home alone if I am selling something. I just like the security of other people when a stranger is coming to my house. Plan ahead, or plan to meet in a public location if you don't want people coming to your home. Also, make sure all transactions are cash only. Who really writes checks anymore, so don't take them either.

Movie Theater Secret Shopping
I had just learned about this gig just a little bit ago from another blogger. There are secret shopper companies out there that will pay you to do their research. I personally do the movie theater ones, but you can secret shop restaurants, banks even coffee shops! There are many companies out there that do this type of work, I personally use Market Force. It has been a fun experience, and I have found out that if you are fun going in talking to the manager, you tend to be treated very nicely from their staff. Just keep it professional, get your work done and get out. They are busy helping their customers, so you don't need to be tying up too much of their time. You choose and apply for these jobs, and the longer you have worked for them, the more jobs you will be able to get. Most of the jobs I do are checking out their trailers and advertising before the movie starts. I did the trailer check before Captain America at one theater and ended up with a take home of $75 for that check. So they can be quite lucrative.
This used to be one of my main side hustles back in my stay-at-home mom days. I still do receive a check a year, but they have "reworked" their contract so much that it pays pennies compared to what it used to. Cafe Press is a website where you can design your own merchandise (t-shirts, mugs, stickers) and others on the web come and purchase it. You receive a small percentage of each sale, but they do all the work. So if you are creative and like designing, this is worth looking into for you. There are other sites like that are basically the same thing, but I am not sure about their payout values. If it is something that interests you check it out. If you do sign up and open some shops, let me know and we can "like" each others shops, which will help us all get a better commission from them.

Food Perspectives
I have been doing food taste testing since my oldest entered kindergarten. I know this because it was her school that first introduced me to this. You sign up on their web site, click if part of your proceeds are going to a charity (school, sports team) and then you wait. You are called or emailed when food tests are available. You must qualify through their test, but it is pretty easy if you are not a picky eater. My family and I eat anything, so we qualify for pretty much all of them. The best part is your kids can participate also! I used to give my kids a cut of their take, because they needed to pay the finders fee and driver to get them there. They didn't care, it was an easy $20 for them. The only downfall to this one, is you can only test once a month :( I know this one is for the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, but if you Google "Food Taste Testers" there might be a local company in your area too. Now, if you are in the Twin Cities, and this information really helped you out and you want to say thank you, you could choose 'Blaine Dance Team' as your charity to give to, that would be great. My daughter was a four year member of the team, and I was on the executive board for three years. This was my legacy to the teams fundraisers, setting the dance team up as a charity of choice. Sincerely, thank you if you can pick them!

Secret Shopping

I have many different companies that I do secret shopping for, below are the ones that I personally use.

Best Mark
Best mark is one of the first companies that I did secret shops through. I have done restaurants, electronic stores, fitness centers, daycares, even different retail shops. It is easiest to use this company through their website on a computer as their website is not very mobile device user friendly. Sign up and see what is available for you to shop. You then do the shop and enter all of the information online through their forms. You will receive a check in the mail about a month after the shop has been completed. They do keep tax records for you if you end up clearing more than $600 in one year for tax purposes. If you would like to check out Best Mark you can CLICK HERE.

This one is an app to use with your smart phone. It works for both Android and iPhones. Go into your app store and search Gigwalk, it is a blue square with a G in it. You need a PayPal account to receive payments, so set that up first if you don't have one already. Once you are downloaded and all signed up, you search for jobs. It will give you a view of the available jobs to do by the closest location to you, which is very helpful. When you find one you would like to complete, apply for it and with how many hours it will take you to complete it. Once accepted, drive to the location, take your pictures (right from the app) and answer a few questions. Remember to always take an outside picture of the store, this app requires it. Once it has gone through their quality control, you will receive payment right into your PayPal. It seriously couldn't be easier. I use this app as does my 17yo son. Great way to make a little extra money.

Field Agent
This is another app shop to use. Again, download it to your phone, sign up and start searching for jobs that sound interesting to you. This app also pays you directly to a PayPal account and uses map and GPS technology to find jobs close to your location. The big difference in this app is that you are unable to reserve a job. You need to be at the store doing it to get it. If somebody next to you is using this app also and submits the results before you, they get paid and you do not.

This is the newest app I have downloaded and started trying. You look under available shops to see if there are any that interest you and then request to be placed onto them. I have done many food shops with this app where they pay you a flat fee for you to tell about your customer service experience and how the food looked and tasted. You can do this one right where they will be paying you more than the food costs, but be careful of your spending then if you are trying to eat for free and make a small profit.

Well, this is it for now. These are all the ways that I bring in money to my household. I am always trying new things and trying to sell new things on Etsy, I will keep you informed of anything new that I find. Be sure to follow this blog to keep up to date with any new, exciting findings.

Some were asking how much I am actually making on the side with all these little jobs. Again, not enough to retire on, but enough to pay my grocery bills every month. Which makes the old grocery budget go towards the debt in baby step 2! You can use this to save for a wedding, save for Christmas, save for a trip, save for a downpayment on a house, or use it for gas money. The sky is the limit on side hustles. What have you been doing to make some extra cash?

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