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The changing of the seasons always gets me in the mood for some wardrobe updates. A few trends I’ve got my eye on right now include velvet accessories (check out these gorgeous shoes!), oversized cozy cardigans and just about anything mustard yellow.
But how to budget for all of this loveliness?!!
If you’ve spent any time on this blog, you’ll know that I’ve gone on at lengths about my constant battle with mom guilt. And spending money on myself is among the many things I feeling guilty about. I really don’t know why. It’s not as if buying some new shoes for myself means that my daughters will miss out on anything, but nonetheless I feel bad. So silly!
One trick I’ve learned is to compartmentalize my spending a little. If I can bring in some extra cash, over and above mine and my husband’s regular incomes, then I don’t feel so bad about treating myself for some reason. Hardly logical I know, but it works for me.
Side hustling is becoming more and more popular these days, but it’s not always that easy. My jobs (the corporate one and taking care of my littles :)) really don’t leave much in the way of spare time. We don’t have an extended family close by to help out, which means that any kind of side hustle needs to fit around our existing schedule.
There are a load of options out there and some are honestly just more hassle than they’re worth. So after some trial and error, I’ve settled on a few favorite methods to bring in a little extra money that fit my criteria of being both super easy AND convenient.
And perhaps the best thing about them all, is that you only need a mobile phone!
#1 Rebate apps
Do you remember a few years ago when extreme couponing was all the rage? It’s great in theory, but cutting coupons can take so much time and effort. I also suspect that coupons tempt us into buying things we don’t necessarily need, just because it feels as though we’re getting a good deal.
What I love about rebate apps instead is that you’re essentially getting money back on things you’d be buying anyway.
First up, and perhaps my favorite, is Ibotta. It’s very easy to use – just look up the rebates on offer using their mobile app, go shopping and then snap a photo and upload your receipt afterwards. They’ll match the rebates to items on your receipt and add the cash to your account for any qualifying products.
Even though most of the rebates are small, they add up quickly. I’ve earned over $300 so far using the app – all from things I would have bought anyway – so not too bad! They offer rebates for generic products (e.g. any breakfast cereal, baby food, produce items etc.) in addition to specific branded goods. And lately, they’ve extended the selection of rebates beyond groceries to include Amazon, Groupon, Uber and more. You can cash out your earnings via PayPal, or in the form of gift cards for Amazon, Starbucks etc.
Right now, you’ll get $10 free just for signing up when you use this referral link or use my referral code in the app (VXJDFPF) and redeem your first rebate!
A secondary app I use for grocery shopping rebates is Checkout 51. It works in very much the same way as Ibotta. They don’t have quite as many products and brands on offer, but still, it’s extra free money! You can find out more here.
#2 Apps for selling clothes
I love a good closet purge and have sold many items over the years on Ebay and Craigslist. More lately I discovered Poshmark, and so far love it! It works in much the same way as those other sites, but offers the convenience of a mobile app.
For anyone else like me who’s late to the party, Poshmark is sort of a cross between a social network and an online marketplace. The longer you use the app, the more followers you gain, who, if you’re lucky will share items from your virtual closet. You add items to your seller profile simply by snapping some pics on your phone, uploading them and filling out a few details.
I’ve found the app to be extremely user friendly and so far have had great results – I sold my first item (a pair of jeans) with a couple of days of joining up and listing!
When you sell something, Poshmark emails you a prepaid shipping label (the buyer pays a flat rate shipping fee) which avoids you having to stand in line at the post office (thank goodness!).
In terms of payout, you set the price and can list as many items as you want, so the sky’s the limit! The only slight con is that Poshmark takes a commission of 20% on anything you sell, but I guess that’s to be expected. Also, sales are currently restricted to the US.
Here are a few tips for selling successfully:
- Take plenty of high quality (think light and bright) photos from various angles. Try to include some close-ups so that buyers can see the condition of the item
- Provide as much detail as you can – I typically include information over and above what it required, such as material, measurements etc.
- Respond quickly to buyer questions and ship items promptly
#3 Mystery shopping apps
What I love about these apps, is that you can use them wherever you’re already doing your shopping (in my case, mostly Target *sigh*).
My personal favorite is Mobee. The Mobee app is extremely easy to use and shows available “missions” in your area on a map. I tend to check it before I head out to run errands, to see if there any missions at stores I’m going to anyway.
The missions are usually very straightforward – answering questions about product availability, or visibility of employees. Often you might have to snap a photo or two of shelving or displays. I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than 5 minutes or so completing one.
The earning potential with Mobee is pretty decent. 100 points gets you a dollar and the missions I’ve completed paid out anywhere between 150 and 1000 points (I’ve also been awarded additional points for visiting new stores for the first time). You can cash out in the form of gift cards from a wide number of stores including some of my faves: Target, Amazon and Sephora.
As with most of these apps, you can also earn bonus points by referring friends. If you use my referral code (DRMR), we’ll both earn 300 points!
So there you have my top three for now… I’ll update you if I find any new or better ways to add to the shopping fund.
Do you know of any easy side hustles or ways to bring in extra cash? Would love to hear your ideas.