When You Need A Bigger Shovel: How To Earn More


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Have you read numerous 250 Ways To Save Money blog posts only to realize you are doing all 250 things and yet you still aren’t making financial progress?

How to earn more money each monthIf you answered yes then chances are your problem isn’t your spending it is your income. You need to earn more income each month.

Increasing income has always been second to making current income stretch farther in our household and yet it has also been needed on a regular basis.

For our family, for the most part, we have had my husband take a second job working for another company, but I know for others their work schedule is just not regular enough to work another job around it.

If that is your situation, here are a few things, beyond going out and getting a second job, that can help you earn more money each month.

7 Ways to Create A Bigger Shovel Without Gaining Another Boss

1. Resell like mad and pay off a debt

Do you have a few small debts that perhaps you could knock out with a yard sale, a Craigslist blitz or a selling frenzy in a Facebook buy and sell group? This might not take as long as you think. I have personally made $600 at one yard sale, and I have read of people selling items within minutes in Facebook buy and sell groups.

What I am going to tell you to do with the money goes against all debt snowball rules…ready….. use the money to pay off your small debts and then don’t roll all of  the payment savings into the next biggest debt, instead use a percentage of it (say 10 to 15 percent) to give yourself some budget breathing room. So if the debt that you knocked out had a $100 payment each month you would add $10 to $15 to your monthly budget and then roll the other $85 to $90 into paying down the next debt faster.

Yes I know that goes against all the rules that debt free  gurus  chant over and over but for people on a small income this can in my opinion inspire you to pay off more debts faster than putting 100% on to the next debt. Why? because people on small incomes are looking at years to decades of peanut butter sandwiches with the 100% snowball plan but this way you get a reward of a turkey sandwich once and a while along the journey to becoming debt free, and you haven’t increased the timeline all that much.

Seeing extra money in the spending budget each month can be just the incentive a family on a small income needs to push themselves to earn more and pay off debts faster. They start to feeling the positive effects of more wiggle room in the budget right away. Once you feel like you have enough breathing space in the budget  (say you can now afford meat in all your sandwiches) stop taking from the snowball with the next debt payoff and return to the 100% snowball plan.

2. Sell other peoples stuff

When I use to do eBay and Craigslist on a fairly consistent basis I use to have friends ask me if I would sell their stuff and charge them a fee. I never did feel confident enough at my reselling skills to take them up on their offers but if you do I say go for it. Spend sometime researching online as to what to charge and how to set it up good systems before jumping in.

3. Sell a product locally

Do you make cupcakes everyone raves about? Find out what you need to do legally in your area to sell them to others.

Do you make dog biscuits that drive the dogs at the local dog park wild?  See if the pet stores in your area will sell them for you.

4. Start a service oriented business

Walk dogs in your area. Mow grass. Weed flower beds. Clean windows. These type of jobs are more flexible than working for someone else because you are in charge of setting the hours.

5. Sell your products or service online

If you love to craft, sell your products on Etsy.

If your a teacher and you make up printable products for your class already try selling them at Teachers for Teachers.

Are your pictures amazing? Perhaps you could sell them to stock photo companies.

If you are talented in photo editing, or editing essays, or another type of service that can be provided online then look into getting started on Fivvr.

6.  Fill in small cracks of time with filling out surveys & participating in point programs

I am lumping survey companies and point programs together because they are both ways to make a small income in little moments here and there through out your day.

For instance you can get Radio Loyality going within Swagbucks , set a timer to remind you to look for the captcha in 30 minutes to enter and get your points, and then go clean your home while the music plays. You can do a survey while watching TV at the end of the day when you are too tired to do anything else.

I earned $50 a month regularly combining point programs and surveys when my kids were little and I really never spent more than 3 or 4 hours a week at it tops. In those hours I was also working on something else too.

Survey Companies

Point Programs

7. Buy items for Resale

Whether it be yard sale items to list on eBay or clearance found items to sell on Amazon buying to resell can bring in a nice sum of money each and every month.

For more ideas see

17 sites to earn money at home

10 work at home jobs with low start up fees

6 Types of daycare you can run out of your home

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52 Weeks To A Simplified Home: Project 20


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This week I tackled the coats as I continued work on the back entrance area of our home.

coat area beforeThe coat hooks don’t  look all that bad, but then this isn’t our entire coat collection. Before I expose you to the rest, I want you to know there are 5 people in our home, all wear adult sized clothing and we live in Indiana, a state where you can start your day out in a parka, and end it in a tank top;seriously not kidding, I have done it.

In case you are wondering about the hairbrush hanging from the string in the picture above, the story behind that begins about a year ago. I got really tired of having to hunt down a brush every day. My children seem unable to place them back in the drawer they are suppose to live in. In my frustration I remembered Beth Moore writing about how she tied her hairbrush to a drawer for similar reasons, so I decided to give it a try and it works! I swear that tied up hairbrush saves me 1 hour a week. (there is a mirror opposite it)

coat pileRemember me talking about the coat bin we keep near our front door? Well this is it. I decided if I was going to tackle the coats at the back door I might as well tackle the coat bin too. That way all the dead of winter coats will be put away until next winter.

big coat pileTo make myself take a good look at the over all coat problem in our home I stacked the ones on the hook on top of the ones in the bin.  Yeah, that is frightening. We have coats for deep of winter, coats for those summer Indiana down pours, coats for cool fall evenings, coats for running, coats for working around the house, coats for church; pretty much coats for all occasions.

coat binsIn the end just one coat went in the giveaway pile and one coat went into the garbage, the rest either got hung up or put in these 2 bins. In these bins are the coats for the deep of winter, and since in is now mid May I think it might be safe to assume we won’t be needing them for several months.

coats hung upThese are all the coats I left out for the summer and into the fall. The big bin is actually empty. I did hang up a few coats I use for running and biking, in a very small hanging area we have at the top of our basement stairs.

The area still looks kind of messy but there isn’t much you can do with coat hooks to make them look neater when in use.

What area of your home did you declutter this week?

52 weeks to a simplified homefree printable plan (small)










Grab the plan and join along as we declutter our homes one inch at a time.

Deals So Good I Had To Share

Sometimes I find deals that get me so excited I just have to share them, pick those that work for your family and your budget and skip the rest.

schoola saleSchoola: Up to $25 in Free Clothing

Schoola is offering free shipping again which means if you haven’t ordered from them yet you can start your account with a $15 and get one to three items of clothing completely free. PLUS they are also offering an additional $10 credit to both new and current customers (those who have already placed an order) when you take just a few seconds to make a collection. You can make a collection by clicking the collection tab at the top of the Schoola home page then click the pink “+new collection” words. I made a collection adding just my daughters name and sizes, it was simple and short to do. Psst…they have adult sized clothing too!

I ordered 4 tops through Schoola  for my daughter last time they offered free shipping, we loved 3 of the 4 tops, but one came with a stain that I thought was pretty unacceptable for something listed as good condition. Now Schoola did send out an email early this week to all their members saying they are working on this issue, but I believe in 100% honesty with my readers so I wanted you to know what happened. I would suggest picking first from the New With Tags and Perfect Condition area, then moving on to the good condition, that is where the top with staining was found. Remember though these clothes are free, so you truly can’t lose.

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$2 Off Nutella

Nutella lovers, print your $2 off Nutella coupon. I know I will. I don’t buy Nutella often anymore because 2 of my children and myself eat it at an alarming rate, but school ends this week and this seems like a nice “hey you finished school” treat.


How To Keep Kids Busy During Long Car Rides Without Electronics


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Long car rides with kids can be…shall we say….interesting…. or should we be more honest and say stressful.

10 ways to keep kids busy during long car rides without electronics

Planning ahead to pack a few activities for the kids can take a bit of stress out of the trip. You probably won’t get rid of  the dreaded question “are we there yet?” completely but you will reduce it significantly when you pack things that will keep the kids busy.

I am not including movies or video games in this list not because I have anything against them, trust me our kids watch movies and play on their iPods often during road trips, I am simply not including them because I wanted to offer something new and different that you can pull out when the iPods and movies become boring.

Supplies For Entertaining A Child On A Road Trip Without Electronics

1. A Lapboard

Lap boards are great for letting little artists go to town creating art while driving. You can also stick some sticky velcro to one part of the lapboard and then stick the other side to cups, pens, snack containers or what ever you want to keep within your child’s reach. I like the curved ones because you can pull them in closer to your body, this one on Amazon has a storage pocket and built in trays that you could use to keep various supplies handy.

2. Clipboards

Clipboards are smaller and less expensive than lapboards and  you can clip paper in them as well as tie a few colored pens with string to them which makes for drop proof art making. I find the inexpensive plain chip board ones hold up best but this one that is attached to a storage box might be great for an older child as it would keep all their art supplies within reach and hold the paper.

3. Cookie Sheets

No I am not suggesting you try and bake in the car some how. Cookie sheets are great for magnet art. You can also tape sheets onto them that could have roads all marked out for hot wheel lovers to enjoy, or draw out rivers and forest for an animal lovers dream scene. You want to make sure that your cookie sheet is actually magnetic, from what I read around the web those that have non stick coatings often won’t work for magnets. If you are not using one from home for this I would suggest taking a small magnet with you and testing the various cookie sheets out at the store with it to make sure you buy one that works.

4. Coloring books

You can get simple coloring books for little ones but don’t leave the older children out of the coloring fun. There are very complex coloring books available that can keep older children and even adults entertained for hours.

To make coloring pictures easier cut the pages out of the book and put them in the clipboard that way they will be flat and easier to color in the small space.

5. Crayons Or Markers

Markers can lose their lids but crayons can break and the pieces can get messy on a hot day when left in the car while your family grabbed lunch, so really it is a toss up as to which to pick.  I prefer thick toddler crayons for the younger crowd and  good quality markers  for children old enough to know not to color themselves from head to toe in marker (yep that has happened :) ) .

6. Magnetic Dress Up Dolls

My daughter had a set of magnetic dress up dolls  when she was little and she had so much fun with them. Good sets like this one by Mellisa & Doug generally come in their own box with stands for the dolls  but I much prefer giving the child a cookie sheet to lay them out on so that the pieces can’t fall out like it can in the box.

7. Personal Dry Erase Boards

Another great art item is a personal dry erase board. I like using the dry erase board markers made by crayola as they seem to have less of a chemical smell . These boards come in handy not just for art but for games of hang man or tic tack toe.

8. Books on CD

Books on CD are great to listen to as an entire family. I once attended a lecture given by a reading expert that said listening to audio books improved reading comprehension levels, so it is a great way to get some learning in on road trips. (family favorites list by age group)

Thrifty tip: Most libraries have awesome CD book selections. If you are a paperbackswap member you can also choose them for 2 credits and one .50 cents request fee which makes them very reasonable. Tyndale rewards also offers CD books from time to time which of course are free (click browse and scroll to Audio to see what is currently available).

9.  Books & Activity Books

Some children can read for hours in the car but for those that either can’t or won’t try Search and Find books, word searches,  or connect the dot books.

I Spy are my favorite search and find books and they make board book titles for toddlers  and more complex hardcover books for school age children.

10. Travel Games

There are a lot of different travel games out there and they can be a lot of fun especially when the whole family gets involved. Spot It The Road sounds like a whole lot of fun and it comes with a 5 star rating and over 1200 reviews on Amazon.  Mad Libs on the Road also have a 5 star rating with over 60 reviews and is under $4.

How do you keep your kids busy during road trips?

Psst… Cashing in Swag Bucks for Amazon gift cards is a great way to pay for all the above supplies. Here is a tutorial of all the day to day things you do on the internet that could pay you in gift cards through Swagbucks.

Road Trip Packing To The Max (small)Trying to squeeze in all you need for your road trip into the trunk? Here are some tips to help


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