Thursday, November 5, 2015

How I spent $0 on Christmas!

What? That's right. You heard me. ZERO dollars. The big double 0. Nada. Zip. Zero! (And no, I didn't get nothing for Christmas! Hopefully I can keep that total at zero, after all it's not Christmas yet!)

Well let me just tell you the story. 

Money has been craaazy tight for me and my husband. We've moved around a lot in the past year, getting married, going to school, etc. And because of that, it makes it really difficult to get a job.  That's basically how the story has been for me at least. So I've come to the conclusion that I must take it upon myself to generate income!

As for how this applies to Christmas, I obviously can't afford much. I struggled with that thought for a while. Because I love Christmas. And I'm one of those people. You know? The ones who put up the tree immediately after Halloween and talk about Christmas in July of all times? 

Yeah, that's me. 

And let me just tell you. I adore giving gifts! It is one of my favorite parts about Christmas. I used to set up "Santa's workshop" in my bedroom as a kid. I would pull out all my crafting supplies, bits and pieces of fabric I'd saved from my mom's projects, odds and ends, googly eyes and pipe cleaners, you name it. I'd put a sign up on the door so that my siblings and parents wouldn't barge in and ruin their surprises. My siblings would have to schedule a time with me if they wanted to come in and work in Santa's Workshop. Together, we'd create little creations for whatever siblings weren't in the room, and for mom and dad. Then we'd wrap them up and stick them under the tree! They were simple, very creative, and made with all the love our little hearts could muster. In fact if you asked, I could dig  out a little piece of fabric, not much bigger than a dollar, that has two beads and a button glued to it, and some shaky childish handwriting written in Sharpie, out from a memory box. I think my youngest sister made it for me when she was maybe 3 or 4 years old. I know, it seems like something I probably should just throw out, but I really can't bring myself to. It was made with love for me. And it was all she had at the time.

So I've been determined that no matter what, I will still going to provide as best a Christmas as I could for my family. With all I had. My me-and-my-husband family, my immediate family, and my new extended family were/are all on my gifting list.

And my search for sources of money online began. I've only dabbled in a little here and there in online transcription, and I'm just barely starting to get my feet into this whole blogging dealio. But one thing I've become a ninja master at, is online surveys. I do online surveys every chance I get, five minutes here, ten minutes there. It really adds up after a while! For the month of October I made about $350 worth in gift cards, spending only about an hour or two online a day. I'm sure I probably missed a few days too, so if I had been more diligent, that could've been a lot more! The exciting part is that November has only just begun! Which means I can make that much this month as well and still have the month of December to make some more! And I want to share with you where I was able to do these things. Because c'mon, who couldn't use an extra $350 a month? Especially when it comes to the holidays!

You interested yet?

Here's list of some of my favorite survey sites! I think they're great. I can vouch for receiving prizes/payment for each of these sites. I know there's a lot of negative association with online surveys, and a lot of scams out there. But if you just do your research you'll be okay! Here we go!

1. Opinion Outpost

This is by far my favorite site. If you're lucky with getting qualified often, you can make about 10 dollars a day! For every survey you don't qualify for, they put an entry into their quarterly prize drawing for $10,000. Which is cool! I haven't won yet, but I wish! I made $120 from this site alone last month. You can cash out through PayPal or Amazon cards (my favorite two options), and a number of other options. You can follow my referral link below to take you there!

2. Points2Shop

This is my next go to when I finish all the surveys on Opinion Outpost. There are always opportunities to earn here! When you first sign up, you can request whether you'd prefer to earn cash or points. Points are all exchangeable for ANYTHING that's sold on Amazon! As well as a variety of gift cards, like Gamestop or Amazon cards. If you choose cash, there's not as many earning opportunities, but you can cash out via PayPal. My only disclaimer with this site: make sure you really read the rules very carefully! They are pretty strict and it's easy to get banned. But if you're good, they treat you very well! For the month of October here, I earned $101.81, which I requested $100 in Amazon gift cards! I definitely recommend this site. Follow my referral link below to try it out! :)

3. Pinecone Research

This one is a little tricky to get into, and they don't have referral links. But it pays really well! The way I found it was doing a little Google search and explored a few different websites before finding a link for an invitation to join. Their surveys are invite only, so you have to keep an eye on your inbox for opportunities to earn. You can then use their rewards program to shop for items with your points. There's some really nice things there (Tiffany's? yes).

4. Swagbucks

You've probably heard of this one before. It is totally user friendly, and really easy to use! There's always ways to earn here as well. Plus, if you're doing shopping on another site, sometimes you can get points for every dollar you spend. You can earn points watching videos, doing surveys, checking out other websites, even watching their swag tv (which I can just turn on my iPod and mute, and let it play away. Yay, passive earning!). I haven't spent as much time on this one as I have the other ones, but I did receive some Visas and Amazon gift cards from here! The other weekend I splurged and spent one of my $20 visas and ordered a Philly Cheesesteak pizza for my husband and I...if you wouldn't do surveys for money would you do them for pizza?...I would....ahem. Anyways. Follow the link below if you want to check it out!

5. Inbox Dollars

This one you've probably heard of before as well. It is also pretty user friendly, though I find myself overwhelmed by the Barney-esque green and purple sometimes. I don't find as many survey opportunities here, and the cash out minimum is a little high ($30 minimum), but it's worth it. They send you a check through snail mail, or you can request an Inbox Dollars card. After you cash out once though, you become a gold member and get more opportunities, which makes it a little easier. Here's my referral link to you :)

6. SliceThePie

This one is actually kind of fun, if you don't mind writing reviews. The idea is to listen to 90 seconds of an artist's song, and write a meaningful and helpful review. The better the review, the more you earn! On average I make about 10 cents for every review. Review 10 snippets, get a dollar! Also a great way to discover some up and coming artists.

Some other ways to earn...

  • Be an extra in a movie or TV show! I did this last week, and got paid $100 to walk down the sidewalk ONCE. I was on location maybe 6 hours tops, and they fed you free food. Not bad!
  • Sell some old junk on eBay or Amazon. Books, DVDs, anything really. My husband and I made out with $65 selling random stuff last month.
  • If you're good at making things, try making an account on Etsy. Artwork? Woodwork? I've seen crocheted baby blankets go for $150 on there...if you've got the skills might be worth a shot!
Some other ways to give...

  • Make your Christmas gifts! These are my favorite kinds of gifts. Because I know that that person was thinking of me during all the time they were putting into their thoughtful gift. They give the gift of their time, which is the most valuable gift of all. It doesn't take a lot to make someone smile when your heart is in it!

Hopefully that's enough to get you going! They've been so beneficial to my family and in helping me reach my goals. I think they're perfect for college students trying to earn a little bit while going to school, or maybe even a stay at home mom. Anyone honestly! May you have mucho successo in your own earning goals! I believe in you! Good luck, and may the force be with you. :)

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