Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Make Money In An Hour

Tip #273 - Make Money In An Hour. Once all of the big financial things are accomplished such as coming up with financial goals, writing a budget, and making savings a priority, there are small things you can do to save money in an hour's time. First, I know you are busy. We all are. But even so, there should be at least a few minutes in your day at least some days per week that you can do things that help you make money or spend less. It is often the small things that help you meet the goals of your big things such as sticking to your budget. Let's look at some examples.

-If your goal is to eat out less then make food preparations in advance, especially for meals that you need to eat outside the home. Waking at 6 am and running out the door at 6:45 AM doesn't leave you much time for making lunch. Find time in your day when you don't have to be out the door in a hurry to prepare your lunch. This could mean making a sandwich the night before, washing grapes and putting them into small containers in advance on Sunday night, cooking a pot of noodles and separating them into a few meals for the week, cutting apples and soaking them in lemon juice or orange juice, filling up your water bottle, and otherwise making lunch preparations in your free time rather than when you are rushed.

-If your goal is to spend less at the grocery store, then find time in your free moments to study the weekly grocery circulars. Spend time making a shopping list. Check out your cabinets and your refrigerator to see what you actually need to buy. Cut out coupons while you are watching television or taking a car ride. If you go to the supermarket without a shopping list, without knowing what you absolutely need to buy versus what can wait a few weeks, without coupons, and without knowing which store has the best prices for what you need, you will end up spending more money than is necessary.

-If your goal is to make some money on the side, then find time to do some money-making activities. If you have a free hour, take some surveys online. The pay isn't much at all but it's better than the pay you get for watching tv. And with a few minutes here and there, it adds up to a few small checks. Sign up for Swagbucks to use as your search engine online. Just by using it on a regular basis, you should be able to build up gift cards at Amazon that can be used toward gifts, groceries, a needed appliance, etc. If you want to make bigger cash, then take time to go through your clothes that don't fit and bring them to a consignment store. Or go through your children's toys and clothing and tag them for a consignment sale. Find bigger items and put for sale on Craigslist. Or sell things on eBay. If nothing else, start a box for a future garage sale, and throw things in the box throughout the year for one big sale in the spring. These are small, but effective ways to make money without leaving the house and perfect for someone who only has a free hour here or there.

-If your goal is to cut down on spending for clothing and household items then organize your things. You might be surprised at what you already own and do not need to buy. Fill a free hour with matching sock from your mismatched sock bag. Look through your cabinets and pull from the back any leftover shampoo bottles, cleaning detergents, toothpaste, and sponges that you bought way back when but forgot about. Go through children's toys and find missing pieces. Anything that can be used that you already own will save money on not buying new ones of the same object.

-If your goal is to do more do-it-yourself work rather than hire someone, then start doing it. That 70's wallpaper in the bathroom? Spend a few minutes a day spraying it with water and peeling. It may take weeks, but it will come down if you take an hour here and there to work on it. Spend time to sew a button your suit jacket. Wash a stain out of a blouse. Start planning games, crafts, or activities for your child's birthday party next month.

Without making this post any longer than it already is, there are many things you can do in even limited spare time to cut down on costs. They shouldn't come at the expense of bigger money-making and money-saving strategies, but they can be helpful supplements to a solid financial plan that you have set out for yourself.

In Real Life (IRL) - I am as guilty as the next person for wasting time. When I have free time, I love to browse the Internet, read books, or sit on the hammock. But as a stay-at-home mom, I have many responsibilities such as making school lunches, buying groceries, planning birthday parties, and keeping the house presentable (at least somewhat). And even though I do not officially work for a living, I do help contribute to my household financially. And I do it in my spare time. I continually go though my children's toys and list them on Craigslist when they outgrow them. I put our used books, DVDs, and CDs on Amazon if it will bring in some money. This month, I've been filling a box to sell items at a kids' consignment sale.

Generally, I take up to 3 surveys a day on the computer. I use Swagbucks as my search engine rather than Google and have built up about $70 balance in gift cards on Amazon in a year's time. When we wanted to redo my daughter's bedroom and two bathrooms, I painstakingly removed wallpaper and wallpaper borders literally for a few minutes per day while the kids napped. It was much cheaper than hiring someone to do it for us. And it wasn't bad to peel for 10 minutes at a time.

At least once per week, I make shortcuts in the kitchen. I prepare peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in advance and freeze them for my kids' lunches. I cut up fruit and put in small containers, and open a bag of pretzels or other snack and dole out in small quantities for the week. It makes it much easier to pack lunch in the morning and makes us less likely to rely on school-bought lunches which are at least twice the price of what I can put together. I try to make healthy snacks such as apple muffins in my spare time rather than rely on convenience foods. I try to keep water bottles filled at all times so we bring them with us rather than have to buy drinks while we are out.

I always browse the grocery circulars and try to cut out coupons when we take long car rides. If not, I at least look through the coupons in advance and bring them with me to the store. I make a shopping list before I go. I try to buy certain items when I am at certain stores that have better deals on those items so I am not overpaying at other stores.

Of course, there are always more things I can do in my spare time to help make money. However, I tend to do the things I like (such as kitchen work) more than the ones I dislike (such as sewing). So none of us is perfect with our finances, but I find when I do take the time to make us money or save us money, I always feel better about spending on things we need to buy. All of us can spare some time here and there to make some money in order to stick to our budget and reach our financial goals. For other financial ideas, check out Frugal Fridays.


Kristen said...

These are all wonderful suggestions - I keep planning to start using SwagBucks, but after reading this, I will start today!

nankie said...

I love English muffin pizzas - they got me through college! And good advice, as always.