• My Favorite Ways to Earn Extra Cash!

    As a stay at home mom, I have always searched for ways to earn extra money to help out our family. To earn extra money I have worked as an after school helper, at McDonalds on third shift, at Edible Arrangements (seasonal), had yard sales, sold items on Craigslist and babysat.  Below is my list of leading ways to earn extra money.

     Swagbucks is my number one source of income. I earn an average of $50 each month. While this may not seem like a lot of money, it adds up to $600 each year. That’s enough to pay down on a debt, take a nice staycation, or buy Christmas gifts. I mainly earn by doing surveys. Although I sometimes earn by searching and doing the daily poll. The first $25 gift card that you redeem for the month is discounted at 2200 Swagbucks vs. 2500 Swagbucks.

    MyPoints is the sister site of Swagbucks. I don’t earn as much on this site as it takes a little longer to cash out. For the past few years I have earned around $100 each year. Completing surveys and printing grocery coupons from this site help me to reach my goal.


    Pinecone Research is a survey research company.  I really enjoy completing surveys for Pinecone because I know that if I receive the invitation, I am guaranteed to complete the survey. Each survey pays $3. Depending on your response, you will sometimes be asked to review new products. I have received breakfast items, diapers and wipes just to name a few. Not only do you get to keep the full size sample, you also get paid an additional $3 for completing the follow up survey.

    Focus groups are probably my favorite way to earn extra cash. Each focus group is different and will vary in how you are paid. I have been compensated with cash, check and gift cards. I have found Craigslist to be a great source for finding focus groups. Bellomy Research located in Winston Salem is also a great source for focus groups. Once you complete their profile, they will contact you by email or phone if you may qualify for a study.  There are even studies that children can participate in. My older kids once participated in a taste test at NC State University and were both given $40 Target gift cards. For more information on how to sign up go to https://sensory.ncsu.edu/food-tastings/become-a-taster/. Just use your instincts when searching for focus groups. I have never given anyone my social security number to participate in a group.

    Mystery shopping is another great way to earn. I have completed mystery shops with https://www.thesourceagents.com/. Most shops will take about an hour to complete depending on the paperwork required. Shops can include going into stores or surveying properties. The pay for these projects start at $8 but will vary. I have found that surveying properties pays more, somewhere around $18.

    I hope that you find these helpful in reaching your financial goals! What are some ways you make extra money?  Please share in the comments below.




  • September Budget Part 1

    Each month I set our budget with the same guide as the previous month’s budget. I keep a running list on the back of the current budget for any upcoming events planned for the following month. I also keep a list of the bills that are not monthly such as car insurance or my life insurance. Paying these bills once or twice a year keeps the premiums lower than having a monthly bill.


    Since we are paid on the 15th and the 31st, I have set up most of our bills to come out during the first pay period. I like this as it leaves a heftier pay down towards the middle of the month. It is important for me to know when my bills are due so I list the due date beside each line item. I also highlight each item as it posts to the account. We strive to budget each month down to zero so that every penny counts. Please note that the remainder of our budget such as gas and water will come out in part 2. Without further ado here is our partial budget for the beginning of September.

     September 2018 (part 1)

    Tithes                               $415
    Rent                                  $1050
    Duke Energy                   $139.87
    CFNC                                $762
    Cellphone                         $26.26
    Life insurance                  $41.43
    Account fee                       $1
    Grocery                              $250
    Fuel                                    $82
    Lunch money                   $100
    CFNC extra payment      $383.44
    Total………………………….  $3251.00



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  • A Little History

    In the fall of 2010 Bernard and I married and so began our debt journey. Of course we didn’t think about paying off our debt until we added more debt and more and more.

    Fast forward nine months later and our family of two became three. During those first three months, I had extreme morning sickness that required hospitalization. At this point we had student loan debt, medical bills, jewelry bills (wedding rings), Best Buy (TV purchased before marriage),  and credit card bills. We were beginning to feel overwhelmed. Almost every month we were using a credit card to pay for gas and groceries.

    Around this time I started to search for ways to fulfill this role of being a homemaker that saves money. I came across a blog called moneysavingmom.com. This blog has taught me how to freezer cook, the basics of budgeting, couponing and so much more. After following for a short while, I discovered a post about Dave Ramsey. This post has forever changed the way I view money. After learning about Dave Ramsey, I immediately went to the library to check out The Total Money Makeover. This book taught me how to budget, save for the future, the importance of insurance and so much more.

    Since starting the debt free journey we have paid off many debts all while dealing with real life situations. We have experienced unemployment, pay cuts, adding two more kids to our family, and two moves. This ride has not been the easiest but we are determined to see this through to the end.

    So lets talk numbers… We have paid off a car, purchased a car (cash), purchased and sold a home, my student loans, $20,000 personal loan, wedding rings, medical bills, credit cards, a refrigerator and a TV. To date we have paid off around $95,000.

    After all of that we are now at $94,567.29 left to pay off the remainder of B’s student loans. I plan to use this blog to help keep us accountable as we finish this goal.  I hope that you will join us on this journey too.