Category Archives: On a Budget

Supplementing my income as a single parent without child support

Legitimate ways to make money online!

Legitimate ways to make money online!

Like many single mothers, I often find it hard to support a family on my income alone. And like most people who divorce an abuser, I rarely, if ever, get any child support. So it’s all on me. When I had two children under three, I found that holding a full time job without any outside support or help was not working. I had so many appointments for the kids, but my employer would not let me off work. There was no one else to take the kids, so now what?

I stepped down into a more flexible, but lower paying position, and I started focusing on ways to supplement my income from home where I wouldn’t need to hire a baby-sitter or pay more for daycare.

Over the years, I have come to count on the money I make online to keep me afloat and I’ve learned what sites work best for me. In the past, I’ve written a few blogs about my ongoing favorites, but the best options are always changing. I do a lot of freelance work, but my favorites are surveys. Not only do they pay me to answer questions while I watch TV, but I often get to test new products, which is interesting and saves me money.

Christmas is coming, so most of us are going to need money for gifts. I also need to get out of debt, so I’m doing as much online as I can. Each time I get a Paypal payment from a site, I transfer it to my bank account and post it towards a bill. It’s a good feeling!

Anyway, I thought I’d write an updated post about what sites I use since people ask me so much.


Right now, my top site is Mintvine. I like this one because it grows faster than other sites. Each day, I take their daily poll for a few extra points, then I start trying my surveys. It puts you in a queue where you keep trying surveys until you run out of options, (or stop for the day.) I get to finish a lot of surveys–usually a few dollars a day, but they also randomly award you points when you are disqualified from a survey. So, sometimes I get thirty cents just for them to tell me that survey didn’t work for me. Usually it’s five cents, but it adds up, especially when I complete surveys that can be worth up to a few dollars each. I count on cashing out at least $10 to $15 a week with minimal effort each night. When I want more, I do more…and that’s the plan since the holidays are coming!

My second go-to site that I check into every day is Swagbucks. I like this one because it lets me earn in a variety of ways. Some days while I’m cleaning or cooking, I play videos to watch while I’m working. I’ve made up to a couple dollars a day just doing that while I multi-task. Of course, add in surveys and other offers, and it adds up. Earning $25 a week is not unusual. I cash out for $25 in Paypal, but you can buy your first $25 gift card each month for a discount of $22, so that is good for getting gifts.

My third daily site is Paid Viewpoint. This one sometimes takes more time to add up, but it is also very easy to use and takes minimal effort. Also, I use about twenty sites. While some are my main money makers, I also keep a bunch going slowly each day, because eventually they will pay out and be a nice little bonus.


There are far more ways I earn extra money each day, but I’ll start with those and not overload you! Those are the ones I recommend the most because they are easier, and don’t require a lot of time each day. Although, you can certainly earn more if you want to, which is nice if you know you have a big expense coming up.

Good luck!

How to make your new cell phone pay for itself with money making apps

Legitimate ways to make money online!

Legitimate ways to make money online!

Recently, I was getting pretty tired of my old cell phone. I bought it in 2012, so it’s basically a dinosaur in cell phone years! The battery wouldn’t hold a charge there was hardly any memory, I couldn’t use newer apps and I got poor coverage. I wanted an upgrade! But I also wanted to be frugal. I was able to do both. First of all, I got an LG phone that costs me less than $7 a month in installment payments. Not so bad. BUT, the good part is, now that I have a newer phone that can handle newer apps, I can use money making apps that make up for my cell phone payment and then some!

There are a lot of options out there, but let me tell you my two favorites.

To start, use Swagbucks. I already make money on Swagbucks by running their nCrave videos, but now I can use six different mobile video apps that will all pay a minimum of 10 SB a day for me to play videos for a few minutes. That’s 60 cents worth times 30 days a month? $18.00. More than covers my phone payment.

But I also added an app called AdMe. It uses an ad for your lock screen, which isn’t as fun as using your favorite pictures, but does pay a bit. It gives you a $3 bonus to sign up, then a few cents a day. I’m up to about $6 in under a month just to use the lockscreen I’d have to swipe anyway. If you decide to use AdMe, please enter my code as your referral if you don’t mind. It is y3uZxhO498 and will give both of us a little bonus.

I’d say these two are the easiest and fastest growing, but there are others as well. I will update with another post soon to review some other popular apps that pay.

As it is, even if I just focus on these two, my phone payment is covered plus I have extra. I’m happy with that! 🙂

An overview of my favorite money-making survey sites!

Legitimate ways to make money online!

Legitimate ways to make money online!

I found that working full-time with two little kids and doing everything on my own was leaving me little time to actually live, so in the past couple years, I’ve found ways to survive on part-time hours and still pay my bills…and even have some fun!

I have a number of things I do to earn extra money, including product testing and using survey sites. Depending on how much time I devote, it is not unrealistic to make $5 a day doing the bare minimum in surveys that are mailed to me. If I have an emergency, I do more. (For example, a couple weeks ago, I had a pipe burst under my kitchen, and I didn’t have enough money to cover the repair. I got online and started taking surveys!) It’s not a lot, but it helps. I can’t count the times that cashing out on a survey site has rescued me from a financial bind or helped me make the last few dollars to pay a bill.

People often ask me about what sites I use, and I’m glad to tell! But, I’ve been doing this for over a year now, so I’m really familiar with the sites and the ways to optimize my earnings. For a newbie, it’s probably completely overwhelming. So, I decided to post a basic overview of the sites I use, how they pay, and how much you can earn. I would recommend starting with a small number of sites at first, then adding more when you get used to them. When you first start doing surveys, you will earn a lot faster at first, because all of the surveys will be new. After a while, the old surveys are all done, and you just get the new ones in your e-mail. At that point, it’s easier to start adding other sites. These days, I just try every survey that comes in my e-mail, because sites usually only send you the best options. If I need to make money more quickly, I can always go to my favorites sites and look for more surveys.

Some sites will allow you to put in a bit of time and earn more quickly, while other sites take just a few minutes a day to earn slowly. Still, I take the couple minutes it takes on the slower sites, because they do add up–especially if you use a bunch of sites at once.

Soo…’s part of my list:

Inbox Dollars: This was the first site I joined, and I still use it, (and cash out,) regularly. I would suggest starting here, because Inbox Dollars pays you for using their links to join other survey sites. (Hint: That’s a very easy way to hit your first pay out. Many times, you will earn $1 or more just for signing up for another survey site through Inbox Dollars. Plus, you can then make money on those sites, too!) Their rewards are paid in dollar amounts instead of points, so it’s easy to keep track of your balance. You have to earn at least $30 to cash out, then when you try to cash out, you get a prompt to earn to $40 and save on the processing fee…so I do that. I cashed out my first $40 after two weeks! This site has more than just surveys. There are plenty of free offers, as well as offers to earn points on purchases, and more. Plus, for every survey you attempt, you get a spin on the Spin and Win wheel which often awards prizes like a bonus 5 cents, a bonus dollar or a bonus five dollars.  Once you’ve used all the initial offers, it is still easy to maintain about $20 a month in earnings just by taking the surveys they send to your e-mail. If you work harder to do more surveys, $40 a month or more is possible. (I just did that to help pay for my broken pipe.)

Global Test Market: This site is currently my favorite. You have to earn 1000 points to cash out–and it’s possible to do that in a month or less. I usually save up a bit more because the payout options don’t add up to exactly 1000 points. For example, at 240 points, you can get $10 in a Paypal payment. For 220 points, you can $10 in a gift card, (I always choose Amazon!) The average survey pays 30 points and takes 5-10 minutes. The surveys are plentiful, and it’s easy to surf through and finish several surveys a night. It is not hard to reach your first 1000+ points in a month and get $40-$50 in rewards.
Also, some of GTM’s surveys are screeners to find people to test products at home. I have tested a bunch of different products–things I would actually buy–which has saved me quite a bit of money on home goods and toiletries. Plus, some of these products are really good, so I enjoy them!

Mintvine: This is another site with plenty of surveys, (plus points for taking a daily poll or being rejected for a survey.) It is easy to earn points very quickly. Their point system is pretty easy–1000 points is $10 worth of credit. You can get gift cards or Paypal, but you have to have at least 1000 points first. It is not hard to get to the first payout, especially since there are several new member bonus options. I would say it is possible to earn $20 a month on this site if you take all your options. The most I’ve earned was $40 in one month.

Swagbucks: This isn’t really just a survey site, although there are survey options. I usually don’t even take many surveys there, unless I’ve used up my other ways to earn points. This site pays in gift cards based on points. You can cash out as little as $3 for 300 points. On this site, I make points by watching videos, watching ads, interacting with ads, taking short polls, and more. Each day, Swagbucks assigns you a point goal, and if you hit the goal, you get a bonus. I always try to hit the smallest goal at least. That is about 30-50 points a day to get a 10% bonus. It’s not hard to get there with very little effort. In fact, since Swagbucks randomly rewards you for using their search engine, you might get 15 points for just one search! The more you search, the more you can earn. I’ve have earned as much as 300 points in one day just by doing easy things. Typically, I hit around 50–which equals out to about $15 a month. If you do surveys, it adds up a lot faster.

In my experience, this is a good start to making some extra money online. I will continue posting some more overviews soon!

Download 1000s of free books–no Kindle needed!

Did you know that Amazon has thousands of free or cheap books that you can download? They are Kindle eBooks, but you do not need to have a Kindle! I tell book lovers this all the time because it’s such a great resource for readers. Amazon lets you download their Kindle reader for free on your computer and you can access all the same books as someone with a Kindle. It’s not a trial. It is an actual program that you get for free and can use as much as you want.

Amazon has thousands of classic books for free. There are also thousands of newer free books on all kinds of topics. Authors who are trying to get exposure will often give away books for free or for very low prices. I have downloaded kids books, science books, math books, self-help books, biographies, novels, cookbooks, home-improvement books and more. I go through every few days and look at the top “sellers” on the free book list to see if any sound good. Here’s a link to the top 100 Free Kindle Books. I have discovered some really enjoyable books this way. I also put normally-priced books on my wish list so I can watch to see if they go cheaper or free, (which is not unusual.)

Of course, even if you aren’t waiting for a bargain, or you want to read a book immediately, you can pay full price and read it right away. I love that feature! Last night I decided to download Fifty Shades of Gray to see what all the fuss was about. I paid $2.99 and had it in under a minute.

So if one night you decide you want to read a book immediately and your library doesn’t have it or the book store is closed, remember you can download the Kindle program for free and get the book you want right away!

Get a 10% bonus on your tax refund

I did this last year and am excited to see it’s an option this year again!

I use Turbo Tax every year anyway because it’s much easier and faster for me, plus it catches a lot of credits I wouldn’t know to look for. Last year, they had an offer that gave you an extra 10% when you directed part of your refund directly to an Amazon gift card. Since I buy a lot on Amazon, from books to diapers to wipes, to household cleaning items, some groceries and more, I sent $500 of my tax refund directly to my Amazon account balance and got an extra $50 added on for doing that. Since I would have spent the money on Amazon eventually, I appreciated that I got an extra $50 to do it all at once. That balance last at least six months as my monthly Subscribe and Save orders came directly out of it. I think this is a great deal!

I have blogged about the benefits of Amazon in the past. I really save a lot of time and money with Subscribe and Save and this 10% bonus will come in handy. Here’s my previous blog about it.

Amazon Mom Review

When I find a company that offers me great service and great prices, I become a loyal customer…and I like to tell people how great the service is. I am constantly telling people how great is and I really mean it! I’m a Prime member, I use Amazon Mom and I use Subscribe and Save. It’s absolutely worth it to me!

As you can probably tell, I read a lot of books. I love that I can pick out a book on Amazon, get a good price and have free two-day delivery without having to drive around to a book store to find something in stock. Plus, right now they have a promotion where, if you skip your free two-day shipping, you can get a $1 credit on your next order. I’ve been taking advantage of that for things I don’t need right away, (and they still show up quickly anyway.) My son loves Prime because we can stream Thomas the Tank Engine videos for free, so we get a lot of use out of that feature as well. With Amazon Mom, I save 20% off on diapers each month…and they come right to my door. I like that so much more than lugging big boxes through stores to my car then into my house! Plus, when I buy in bulk through Amazon Mom, I save money. And if I set up more than 5 subscriptions a month using Subscribe and Save, (the diapers count towards the minimum of 5 items,) I get an extra 5% off of the normal subscribe and save prices. That’s easy! I just pick things I’d buy anyway and I save money on them too.

I keep my credit card on file, (and it’s even better if you get the Amazon credit card because you earn reward points,) and it’s a breeze to have the things I need show up at my door for lower prices than I’d pay in stores. That definitely makes my life easier!

If you are interested in joining Amazon Mom or reading more:
Try Amazon Mom for Free

Or if you don’t have kids or need to buy diapers, you can still take advantage of an Amazon Prime trial and Subscribe and Save:
Join Amazon Prime – Listen to Over a Million Songs – Start Free Trial Now

Making Money Online Update

So I’m still working with Inbox Dollars and I’m pleased!

I won’t pretend I’m getting rich or making a living, but I have made nearly $50 in three weeks doing very easy things with minimal time. That’s not bad! With this site, there are a variety of ways to make a few cents or dollars–including watching videos, playing games, making purchases through other sites, signing up for various offers and taking surveys. I have taken a lot of surveys, signed up for some freebie offers, played their Spin and Win game, used their search engine and more, but the surveys are the biggest part. I get e-mails throughout the day alerting me to make a few cents by verifying I read them. I can earn more if I accept the offers. I’m on a tight budget right now, so the few dollars I make each day on this site, (plus what I make on others,) is going right to bills. Every little bit helps!

There are a ton of survey sites out there and I simply don’t have time for all of them, so I’ve narrowed it down to the couple that pay off the most. The other one I really like is My Soap Box. I don’t get a bunch of surveys there, but the ones I do get have a better pay rate than other sites. This site pays in points that are redeemed for gift cards, (I’m going for the card!) I have earned the equivalent of over $5 in a week by doing just a few minutes’ worth of surveys and I’m also working on two larger projects that will pay me $10 and $25 for a few minutes of product testing. I do all of these while I’m eating a meal or to relax before bed, so it doesn’t take much time. I highly recommend both of these sites. I don’t think it would be unrealistic to make about $100 a month between the two of them if you put in a small amount of effort. It’s great for paying down debt, making extra pocket money, building savings and more!