Welcome to My Life Experiment! In this post I am going to talk a little about some money saving tips my wife and I are relying on to stay above water with our finances. There is a ton of information on this subject. But this is My Life Experiment, and I will show you the ones that are having a nice effect on my life!
With all of my family’s new expenses (new mortgage, student loans, incoming baby), our finances are going to be stretched to the limit.
In my last few posts (Raising Families Means, Earning Diaper Cash Online), I have expressed the amount of energy I am putting into earning more cash. Here I am speaking to the practical ways we are using that same energy to save as much of our hard-earned cash as possible!
At this stage in the life game, I cannot imagine SIMPLY focusing on earning as much as possible. Saving is just as important! If I am bringing an extra $4200 a year home from hustling harder and just go spend it all on unimportant crap, then what good did I do?
My family is hustling hard to create a strong financial base of support! Shoring up any cracks in the foundation, is CRAZY IMPORTANT!
Here are 5 habits that my wife and I have taken on to save some of that cash from falling through the cracks:
1. Joining Store Reward Programs– Basically any store that I go to seems to have a reward program! They were something I overlooked for the last couple of years, but now started realizing that people with those cards were getting some damn good deals. So lately I have just been signing up for these free programs and I am noticing great savings on grocery totals.
2. Using the Target Red Card and Cart Wheel– I don’t know how many times I have shopped at Target and had the sales associate ask me if I want to get the Target Red Card. At first, I was like, hell no I don’t want another credit card! Then I realized they have a Debit version, that simply comes out of my Checking Account. It still took me forever to get one since I kept forgetting to bring a cashier’s check into the store to get signed up. Then it FINALLY dawned on me that they have a Website and so I did it on there! Getting 5% off all purchases comes in very handy. Target also has a great app called Cart Wheel. With Cart Wheel, all you have to do is find the sale items in the app, click the item, and it creates a barcode for the cashier to scan as a coupon. I have found several items I would have been buying anyway, and saved a lot of money just by having that app.
3. Credit Card Rewards– My wife and I hooked up with a Credit Card that offers 4% cash back on fuel purchases and 4% off the Warehouse store she works at, and we regularly shop at. It also gives 3% back on any places we eat out (which isn’t regularly). I also have another card that I use sometimes that only gives 1% back on all purchases, which needs to be replaced immediately!
4. Using Credit Cards and Reward Programs Responsibly– This is the habit that makes list numbers 1-3 worthwhile. The trick to list items 1-3 is that they should only be used to purchase goods and services that we’re already going to be purchasing anyway! Getting 3% back on eating out 5 times per week is still blatantly irresponsible, even though some money is being saved, unless you can afford that of course. If you are thinking “WELL DUH TRAVIS”, then I am hear to say that with all the maxed out credit cards in the world, it is not as COMMON SENSE as you might think it is. Of course, the only way to make a credit card worth it is to pay off the balances before any interest can accrue. There is no point in getting rewards for spending when paying it all back in interest payments anyway!
5. Cooking at Home– Probably the hardest part about making sure to cook at home is that life is busy and eating out is soooo easy. Over my last 5 years I have had ebbs and flows with my eating out habits, sometimes responsible, sometimes very much not! Lately though, the emphasis has been on putting my culinary arts degree skills to work. I have been having fun spending more time preparing meals that have some left overs to munch on for a few days. I used to justify going to Dollar Menu Items at the Fast Food Places as being a good idea to save money. Maybe I save some money with those, but it didn’t save my body any of the stress of trying to digest all that crap.
6. Buying the RIGHT ITEMS in bulk– I read an article recently that touched on how Warehouse Stores (Costco, Sam’s Club) were actually costing people more money and getting people to eat more. Having to buy a bunch of food to buy any, although affordable, can either be a waste or lead to over-eating. If I am just trying to buy some Poptart’s, and some Orange Juice, then maybe the Warehouse Store isn’t the best option for our home (Unless you have a big family or run a Day Care I suppose.) One box of Poptart’s is really all we need, not 6! But there are many items that make complete sense to purchase in bulk and help save a ton of money. Some of the things we buy in bulk is toilet paper, paper towels, Keurig pods. There are many more items that make more sense to purchase at the Warehouse Store, these are just a few.
I have to say that although I have a decent batting average on maintaining these habits, I do slip up from to time. This is to be expected, and I don’t beat myself up over it. This list is also a limited one, there are many other ways to make the most out of our money!
In my next post on money management I will talk about the impulse to spend, when spending doesn’t need to be done. My Life Experiment goes much more smoothly when being responsible with how I spend my money, so getting on top of the emotions that drive impulsive spending is highly important!
If you can think of any more helpful money saving tips, please leave them in the comments section below! And if you think this list could be helpful for someone you know, go ahead and share it with them. Thank you for stopping into My Life Experiment, I hope you have a beautiful day!
Hello there you beautiful people, welcome to My Life Experiment! Last week I wrote about raising my families means for living. Toward the end of the post I mentioned I have been trying all sorts of things online to earn extra cash.
These methods to accumulate money have at least one thing in common. They have helped to add a little extra securityto pay the bills of maintaining our new house, and the soon to be baby expenses!
The nice thing about these ways to earn some extra cash is that all you need is a WIFI Connection, a little bit of extra time, and minimal effort.
Here is a small list and descriptions of each of the new extra money making or saving websites I been experimenting with.
1. Mechanical Turks– This is a program developed and maintained by Amazon. This program recruit’s workers to do a variety of micro tasks that organizations outsource to Mturks. There are many tasks that can be done, but there are only a few that I have done routinely. I mainly stick to doing surveys. The surveys I do generally take about 15 to 25 minutes to do and pay between $.50 and $2 per survey. Another task I spent several hours doing was watching snippets of YouTube videos and rating if they contained sensitive content or not. This task allowed me to make about $4 per hour. As you can see there isn’t a ton of money to be made, but these tasks can be done while bingeing on Netflix, so what the hell, might as well! The money can be released to an Amazon Payment Account, or put on an Amazon Gift Card. I have been averaging an extra $100 per month, so potentially $1200 annually while sitting on my butt in my spare time!
2. Swag Bucks– On this site there are a variety of things to do to earn SB’s (Swag Bucks), which can be redeemed for gift cards from all sorts of different stores or banks. Swag Bucks has a nice amount of surveys to take. I generally take surveys here if I cannot find good ones on Mturks. SB’s can also be earned by watching videos, or even playing games.
3. Inbox Dollars-This is another site that resembles Swag Bucks. The nice thing about Inbox Dollars is that they give $5 to begin earning with them. Although money cannot be withdrawn from the site until $30 is earned. I am turned down from doing surveys on this site at a higher rate than both Mturks and Swag Bucks, but I have still been able to reach $20 earned without very much effort.
4. Lending Club– Lending Club is much different than the other methods to earn extra as listed above. Lending Club is a website that offers loans to individuals that are seeking loans. Though it isn’t a bank, it is a peer to peer lending site. Investing in Lending Club is about buying shares in loans that individuals are acquiring through Lending Club. The shares are bought in $25 dollar blocks, and interest is paid on the money that I and all other investors have made available. Two months ago, I tested out the waters by investing, and I have received 12 percent returns up to this point. If I just left that money in my savings account I would be accruing less than a percent!
Although the amount of cash I have earned hasn’t been large, it has been helpful! I will be making my first withdrawal from Amazon Turks and will be purchasing a new stroller and some diapers to prepare for the arrival of our little girl!
Also, as I have made my way into trying new ways to earn online, I made my way into developing My Life Experiment! And you best believe that sharing this life experimenting with all of you has been an amazing journey.
What I am learning is that If I am willing to put myself out there to earn in as many ways as possible, I just might find my way into doing something that I love!
I hope you have enjoyed learning a little bit about the ways I have been making a few extra bucks online! There are an immense amount of ways to earn online for those who are willing to look. These options I have described don’t even scratch the surface! So, try what I have tried or try something else! If you are complaining about money and waste a lot of time watching Netflix there is no reason to not give some of these options a try!
Thank you for stopping in to My Life Experiment. In my next post I will fill you in on the ways my family has been saving extra cash and setting up a budget! So tune back in and learn along with me or help educate me at My Life Experiment!
This My Life Experiment blog is all about setting off on new experiments to develop habits that will ensure that I continue growing in as many aspects of my life as I can. So far, I have shared about my Compliment Experiment, Gratitude Experiment, and Meditation Experiment! At this time, I have some ideas for what my next life experiment will be, but I have not gotten it locked down yet. In the mean time I have had a concept on my mind that I want to explore here, so let’s explore!
For this post I need to talk about striking a balance between two very related topics. The topics are “living within our means” and “taking manageable risks.”
First let’s talk about what it means for me to live within my means. What are my means that I am supposed to live within? My best understanding of the topic, is that my means are simply all resources that may be available to me in the present moment. So financially my current means would be the income of my family, and even funds that others may have committed to offering. So basically, whatever I can get my hands on!
It’s in the financial world that I typically hear the “live within your means” story. Which to me is about spending resources that I currently have, on things I really need. And of course, not the opposite, spending resources I currently don’t have, on things I don’t need.
This Life Experiment of mine has brought me into a good deal financial debt these days. I graduated from University two years ago, and my wife and I recently bought a new house after finding out our first baby was on her way. Tie that in with student loans for my wife as well, and that says that we have quite a lot of debt. Some might say it is irresponsible to take on this much debt, or any debt at all. I don’t see much of a problem with it though.
I don’t have a problem with my family’s current level of debt because it is manageable and accumulated for good reason. I love to learn, and I feel the only way I could have gotten the type of education is through sitting in front of Professors and having imposed deadlines on the work I did. We decided to buy a house because we knew there was a baby on the way and felt like securing a place we could more comfortably grow our family in. And any credit card debt we have is paid off quickly so that we get rewards, instead of accrued interest! The decisions we have made so far haven’t saddled us with debt, but we have made decisions that would challenge our current financial and non-financial capabilities for years to come!
For my life experiment, challenging my current abilities is one of the most important things I can do for myself. And for my family for that matter! I believe the only way to expand my current means is by challenging myself, by taking manageable risks! Now don’t get me wrong here, I can challenge myself too much, but then that risk isn’t very manageable now is it. To now get loans on two cars and load up our credit cards to spruce up our beautiful new house, in my opinion would be completely irresponsible.
I don’t know about any of you, but if I do not take enough risks, this life experiment of mine can get excruciatingly boring! There is simply far too much energy inside of this body of mine. This energy is chomping at the bit to find its way into the world, and sometimes if it isn’t able to come out very soon, that will have consequences on my mental and emotional health. Meaning that my tendency towards depression and crippling anxiety starts nipping at my heels, which I cannot stand. I must keep moving, and that means raising the quality of my standard of living! So I am happy student loans were available when I wanted an education, and that a mortgage was available to get a house. Because I don’t think I would be patient enough to save up and pay out of pocket!
Since making the massive decisions of having a child and taking on all this new debt, the way I go after money has changed drastically. My tendency had been to get comfortable at a job and not try very hard to advance. After realizing the direction my family’s life was taking, I immediately applied for a new position at my company. I got the promotion which eventually didn’t work out, but the point is that I took the big risk! The risk ultimately did pan out though because I gained respect from the company for taking on a tricky responsibility and will be in the running for future opportunities.
I have also been looking for new ways to earn from all sorts of different areas that I was not willing to try before, or even realized existed! I began playing with some stocks, taking surveys online, looking for online freelance work, and of course starting this blog! While researching and developing these new methods of making extra cash I am gaining a wealth of new information that is making my future look damn good!
It is safe to say that my current state is “HUSTLE MODE!” I am hustling more than ever because the stakes are higher than ever. My HUSTLE is to make sure the new risks we have taken to increase the means for our growing family, are manageable! I don’t know where this hustle is going to take us, but it sure is opening a lot of new beautiful and exciting doors!
Thank you for stopping by! And please remember that the views expressed here are my own personal interpretation and are not meant to be taken as simply the way things are! If you found the ideas in this post to be helpful, feel free to use them! Also if you found these ideas to be helpful, please share them on your social media to help me grow this HUSTLE of mine! Thank you all of taking the time to check out My Life Experiment, I have nothing but love for all of you!