Category: personal finance

3 Websites To Make Extra Money

3 websites to earn extra income

Here, I’m sharing my absolute favorite list of websites that require only 5 minutes of your day to earn extra money. I have been using them for years and quite happy with the $$ I receive for my very little effort. You can find my lifetime points/earnings in the pictures as well. Have a look and let me know if you have any questions. I’m adding my referral link in a couple of them below. You can earn initial points worth $ if you use my referral link and I get some points by sharing you these websites.

Bing.com:

Bing is a search engine owned by Microsoft. Create an account at bing.com and earn points everytime you search through Bing. You’re basically registering your existing email address to start earning the points. Every day, you can earn 150 points through PC search and 100 points through mobile search (install Bing.com app). Everyday Bing also provides options to get bonus points. You can redeem these points for gift card/buy services.

I mostly use Bing.com rewards points for Skype credit or Starbucks gift card. 500 minutes Skype credit is only 4250 points. All our India calls are through Skype or Whatsapp. So having some Skype credits in handy helps with calling India numbers directly. More on that in a post here.

Instead of searching in Google, you search through Bing. The bonus is, you get to ear $$ for the searches. Double win if you ask me.

MyPoints:

I have been using MyPoints from 2009. They offer you multiple different ways to earn points. To be honest, I hardly have time to try all of them. The only option I try, yet I’m able to redeem good $$ over years is clicking the emails that they send. When I clean up my mailbox once every few days, I just open these emails and click. That’s all I do. MyPoints offers 5 points to click the email. It’s an easy money for spending less than a minute every few days. All I have been doing is, clicking the emails that they send.

Those emails clearly say “get 5 points for clicking this”. These 5 points add up and in few months you can redeem them for gift cards.

Swagbucks:

What is Swagbucks?

Swagbucks is more of a search engine that rewards you with Swagbucks for searching. When you search, you will be randomly awarded Swagbucks for searching, from 5 bucks and more.

You Can Get Free Gift Cards For Shopping, Searching and Discovering What’s Online at Swagbucks.com

These Swagbucks can then be redeemed for a variety of different gift cards and other items. I got so many Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks over the year.

Join Swagbucks!

They also offer many different ways to earn more Swagbucks. Some of the most popular ways to earn Swagbucks are doing online searches, signing up for offers, printing coupons, completing special offers, or taking polls.

How to get started with Swagbucks?

Just sign up for a free Swagbucks account. Once you’re signed up, I encourage you check out the left hand side of swagbucks home page where they list out different options to earn money. Experiment with different ones until you determine the ones that works for you.

I encourage you to set an earnings goal each day and try to login and hit the points goals, if possible. Try to invest at least 5 minutes a day, it can really start to add up!

You can get $5 Amazon gift cards for just 500 points. With few minutes of your time, you can easily hit 40-50 points a day.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions.

A Simple Habit To Increase Your Savings Exponentially

How to reduce spending

There are two ways you can create wealth. 1. Earning more money 2. Saving more. Out of the two, we have more control over our spending habits than earning more money.

Even if you have lean budget and you don’t want to reduce your spending, there is one simple way that will greatly reduce your spending.

It’s quite simple: ELIMINATE WASTE. It’s around the same line of MINIMALISM. Minimalism indirectly helps reduce the waste. Let’s say you have tried all the ideas to reduce grocery spending, and want to reduce it even further, look nowhere other than your kitchen.

  • Go to your kitchen and find out the items that are about to expire. Make some meals out of them
  • Create weekly meal planning with the ingredients you already have in the fridge, freezer, and pantry. Once in a few weeks, I cook all my meal from items in the kitchen without buying anything from the store. Those are days when I get creative and cook some different meals. Some turned out to be really nice, some turned out to be ok
  • Clean your fridge, freezer, and pantry once a month. When you take everything out for cleaning, you are forced to see the unused items that are about to expire
  • Maintain a “Monthly Waste” list and stick it in the freezer. Every time we waste something, that item and its value are entered in the waste list. It’s easy to throw something and not think about it in the next minute.  But when you write the item you wasted and its value, you can feel a pinch in your heart. So next time when you waste something, you’ll think twice (the current one in my mind is unused Asparagus stems in the fridge. I’m thinking of making a soup out of it. Hopefully it turns out well)

Where to start:

Below is the timeline I follow when it comes to cleaning the unused items.

ItemTimeline
ClothingOnce a month
Kids ToysOnce a quarter
FurnitureOnce every 6 months
Anything that's torn and not fixedevery 3 months
Kids clothesAfter every season
Foodafter expiry date (obviously)
MedicineAnything that you know you won't use it anymore + expired
Makeup + skincareanything not used in the last 3 months + expired

How to avoid waste:

  • Don’t buy bulk if you are not going to use the item within 2 months
  • If the item doesn’t excite you, it has to go. Whether it’s piece of clothing or a kitchen utensil, if you don’t find it exciting to use or wear, it needs to go
  • Invest in good quality items and buy less. For example, I only have 4 kitchen vessels in total (including my pressure cooker). I cook all my meals using those 4. It’s been over 2 years since I ditched my extra utensils and I haven’t missed them so far. Try it. you’ll be surprised.
  • Have a budget (Here is more on how to start budgeting). High-quality items are typically expensive. If you buy expensive items within the budget, you cannot buy too many items and fill up the house

When you start implementing the above ideas, you might feel like you’re throwing away too many items at once. But those are the items you have not used for a whole or you can no longer use. If possible consider donating them or selling them on Facebook. Once you’re past the first step, the total waste goes down and you can eventually see a difference both in your spending as well as in your life.

Paying Cash to Grocery Shopping – Final Report

We had so many changes happened within a short timeframe. Before the move, our grocery budget was $400. Few days before the move, our parents landed. And few weeks after we moved to the new place in a new city, our refrigerator died.

With all the changes, I had no idea how much to budget for grocery shopping. To give a little perspective, we buy good quality ingredients/organic products and eat at home majority of the time. Even though we enjoy eating out, we eat at home for health reasons more than saving money. However, spending $1000 a month on groceries are not ok with me.

To recreate a budget to accommodate the changes in our life, one of the steps I took is to go all cash-in for grocery shopping. We use credit cards for all our shopping (FYI – we pay the credit card bill at the end of the months before it’s due).

Paying Cash To Grocery Shopping:

The concept is, you pay cash for all your grocery shopping rather than using credit/debit cards. Before February started, I withdrew $500 cash from the ATM, carried it in an envelope and paid only from that amount for all my February grocery shopping.

Until the last week of February, I spend around $419 (here is mid-month update). so, I had $81 left when the last week of Feb started. Since I started work during the last week of February, we did some major shopping at the Indian grocery store (the one closer to us is 15 minutes away. So, we stock up the grocery and only visit there once a month).

In that trip, I spent $144.87 for Indian groceries. So, the total spending for the month of February was, $564. My budget was $500 + $50 flex budget.

$564 is for 4 adults and 1 toddler. Even if we consider just the adults, that’s like $5 per adult per day. Even though, I went over the set budget, I’m happy.

My Opinion About the Concept:

It’s quite a different experience than swiping the card. To be honest, I could have reduced the bulk purchase and stayed within the budget. After all, I had $81 left for Indian grocery shopping. With me going back to work, we didn’t want to take a chance as we know time is more precious at this phase of our life.

If you’re struggling to stay within the budget or if you’re someone who wants to put together a grocery budget, I strongly suggest you try this method at least for a month.

When I started this challenge, I thought I’ll be spending too much time counting $$ at the checkout counter. To my surprise, it’s not the case. I probably spent few more seconds than before.

My New Grocery Budget:

This past month, I didn’t splurge much and I was doing more couponing than before. Even then I spent $564 on groceries. Groceries include food, toiletries, diapers etc. This clearly shows, we need at least $564 per month. So, I’m increasing the budget to $600 per month.

Continuing Paying Cash to Grocery Shopping:

The primary intention of this challenge was finding out grocery budget for our family. Now that I know our set budget, I’m going to go back to using credit cards. Why leave the rewards points that we get from credit cards.

But I’m definitely open to trying to challenge more often. After my parents leave, I’ll try this concept again for our family of 2 adults + 2 kids (toddler + newborn).

I’d suggest you give it a try at least once. You’ll be surprised how it affects your shopping mindset.

Paying Cash To Grocery Shopping – Mid Month Checkup

Guess what? it’s time for mid month checkup on paying cash to grocery shopping. I had $500 on the budget when February started. As of today, I spent $262.44 and I have $237.56 left for the rest of the month. So far this month, I have not shopped at the Indian store and I probably will shop there next week.

The above picture has my pinky coupon pouch and the cash envelop. Both of them are always in my handbag and they go with me everywhere.

After using the cash to pay for the groceries, I noticed an important change in my behavior. The fact that I’ll be paying in cash is in my mind through my shopping trip and I’m being super cautious on the list of items I buy. Because, I have an inner fear that I’ll run out of money and won’t have money to pay my groceries if I buy too much. I know I can pay using credit card. But my mind is set that I only have $500 for this month and I cannot spend more.

This is the first time I’m trying this method and I learned lots of interesting things so far. Can’t wait to share with you the final results at the end of the month.

If you are following the Facebook page or Instagram, you might have already seen this. The above picture shows the list of groceries I bought in my last trip. Did you notice that the majority of the items are Organic? Through this experiment, I also want to show you that you can buy even Organic products within reasonable budget.

Paying Cash To Grocery Shopping

As mentioned in Facebook page yesterday, our grocery spending in the last couple of months has been through the roof. I spent 2 x my regular grocery budget in January.

Part of it is due to the move from TX to NJ and part of it due to our refrigerator stopped working for a week. We had to through all the items in the fridge/freezer and restock again.

That’s not all. I indulged more than necessary when grocery shopping and lot of junk foods such as chips, mocha and other items were added to the cart. I guess I was giving into my pregnancy cravings.

When I checked our January spending couple of days ago, I almost puked. We were doing pretty good in majority of the spending except Food.

Cash Envelope System:

I have heard about using cash for grocery shopping, but never tried before. I was hesitate to try it for the below reasons:

  • Paying cash at the checkout is not as quick as paying with credit/debit card
  • I’ll losing credit card rewards points
  • Whoever carries the cash needs to do all the grocery shopping. You cannot ask your spouse to stop by at the grocery store and get Milk on the way from work

But this time, only in February, I decided to try cash envelope system just for grocery shopping. I will never move to 100% cash and lose the reward points I get from credit cards. But I believe cash envelope is worth the try if it’s going to save me money and get me back on track.

February Grocery Budget:

As you know from how to plan your money grocery budget series, our regular grocery budget is $400 for a family of 2 adults and 1 toddler. Now that my parents are here, I’m setting $500 as the grocery budget and $50 additional floating budget in case if $500 is genuinely not enough for us. Again, that $50 can be used only during the last week of February.

Tracking The Grocery Spending:

At the end of every week, I will be sharing my experience as well as how I’m stretching the dollars with pictures. The caveat I see in cash envelope system is, I need to do all grocery shopping as I know Hubby won’t do shopping if I ask him to use cash.

Also, it’s going to take more time at the checkout counter and I should be prepared on that as well considering I take my toddler to the shopping almost every time in the last couple of months.

Looking forward to try this new system and really hoping it to work.