Financial Security: Side Gigs

One thing I have finally got into doing recently is earning money from secondary sources. Many people get into the habit of getting all of their money from one source that they are not prepared in the slightest if and when they suddenly lose their job. The best way to make sure that if you suddenly lose one source of income, that you are not suddenly screwed, is to make sure you have more than one source.

I work a minimum wage job, and that job pays for all of my bills. But recently I have been experiencing hour cuts and I always have the possibility of suddenly losing my job if the economy dips, so I make sure that I earn some kind of money on the side. Many people might think that making some money on the side is hard, but it has to be the easiest thing I have done, and I regret that I didn’t do it sooner.

Now my side jobs would never be able to pay all of my bills as of right now but it is something that I can get and pay off extra bills, or put into my Betterment account. Since I started doing this a couple of months ago, I have earned almost 100$ a month, with the possibility to grow exponentially.

My favorite ways of making money on the side? Well, there are many that I recommend.

Blogging/Vlogging

Blogging is a good way to earn a small amount of money every month on the side, although chances are, you won’t earn much, and you will need to put a LOT of time and effort into writing various articles for the blog or vlog. If you do it right, however, you can continue making money from ad revenue and affiliate marketing down the line.

I spent 200 dollars a year for a potentially popular vegan website I had been working on for a year, after that year I had to let the site go because I was in deep financial trouble and could not keep the website afloat. I am sure that if I was able to pay for it for another year, I’d be able to make the website pay for itself.

I personally think Vlogging, or Video Blogging, has more potential for making money in the long run and faster, but due to recent events with YouTube demonetizing videos, it’s more hit-or-miss. Writing is also easier than video editing and vlogging usually requires a higher monetary investment for cameras and audio devices in order to make the best Vlogging channel and to compete with others.

Freelancing:

My favorite way of earning extra money is Freelancing. Either on websites like Fiverr or Freelancer, you can tell someone who you will be able to sell a skill for 5+ dollars, and can make a decent living by doing the assignments. I am a writer on Fiverr, and have earned 48 dollars in my first month on the site, with a possibly 220 dollars worth of orders comings up soon.

Ebooks:

I sell… adult-rated ebooks online under a pseudonym. These don’t make me much, but they do make me a usable amount. In March I earned over 100$ in ebook sales, in April I earned only 12$, but in March so far, I have already earned 25$. I will never be able to make a living by ebook sales alone, but it is something to give me a little extra money in Passive Income that can help pay a bill or two, or purchase a few weeks of food, or just a little extra to put in my savings account.

There are, of course, other ways you can earn a little bit of money. I once earned some pocket change on sites like Swagbucks, apps like Ibotta, and the like. But since I earned s little from it, it was basically pointless for me to continue using apps like that, as I felt my time was not properly invested for the pay I was receiving. And of course, there are good money-makers like Uber, Lyft, and Etsy as well.

Just find the side jobs that best fits your availability and talents, and soon you will be on your way to financial security!

Saving Money By: Leaving Your Card

Saving Money By: Leaving Your Card

Probably the most effective way of saving money when out and about, is to simply not have any on you. It is very easy to avoid temptation of swiping a card or handing some bills when doing so requires you to go all the way back home for you to do it! I mainly do this only when I am in deep financially.

Not only does those small bags of potato chips or that 1$ hamburger at the Mcdonald’s drive-thru add up over time, but you are also prevented from making impulse buys. I don’t make any when I am without my card, which saves me all that money. I am able to counterbalance hunger though, as I always have some kind of snack in my bag for whenever I am feeling those hunger pangs.

Another way to circumvent this is to keep a fair amount of money in an cardless account. I use Betterment to invest my money, and it works exactly like a savings account. In fact, better than a savings account, as it increases the amount of money you have over time! Betterment takes 5 days to withdraw funds,  Since I cannot just transfer funds when I desire a burger, it helps me to simply take out money when I really need it!

Having my hours cut recently and calculating my expenses, although not entirely bad, showed me that I was going to have to restart my No Card policy. What works even better, if if you are going shopping, to bring just what you need, maybe a dollar or two more. This way you only get what you went out to get, and not everything else in the store. I have a set budget of groceries and essentials of 150 a month for 3 people, I am going to strive to stick to that.

21 Dollar Grocery Haul! Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts!

This was a pretty good haul for just 21 dollars, here is a picture:

food haul

This picture is actually missing out the 2 12oz bags of frozen brussel sprouts, but I have not slept yet so you’ll have to excuse me for not repositioning everything after I found out. it’s 10AM right now.

Now I went to Dollar Tree to get my weekly coupon inserts, and continued to go shopping. I made a mistake and did not bring my cart with me, so I had to carry too many pounds of groceries home in my backpack. But what I got was:

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast 4 pounds at 1.99 a pound, plus a 1.00 off coupon! only spent 6.38.
  • Almond Milk, originally 2.59, on sale of 2.29, coupon for 50 cents off! Got it for 1.79.
  • Wheat bread – 89 cents
  • Huge box of Saltines – 89 cents
  • Dish soap – 99 cents
  • 2 pounds of dry Pinto Beans – 1.69, retails for 1.99
  • Frozen Brussel Sprouts, retail at 1.29, on sale for 1.00, 20 cent off coupon, got 2 for 80 cents each!
  • Big bag of cereal – 3.00
  • ~2 pounds of discounted bananas – 51 cents, 10 cents cheaper than retail per pound
  • half gallon of milk – 1.59
  • 5 pound bag of Idaho Potatoes, retails for 1.79, on sale for 1.29
  • Can of Mixed Vegetables – 49 cents

Altogether I saved 1.90 with just coupons alone! 21.17 was my total. That’s 15% off my groceries just through these sales and coupons! Not too much off today because I needed these items, but bought a lot of stuff for just 21 dollars anyways.

This will hopefully last us a little over 2 weeks combined with the stuff I already own.

19.41$ Food Snack Haul!

So the main reason I was going to Food4Less was to get some of their Megaevent items, and saved a fair amount from those. Here is a picture of my haul!

food haul

 

What I got included:

  • Kroger Chicken Stuffing – .49 cents. Discounted due to the box being damaged
  • Corn x2 – 1.00
  • Mixed Veggie x2 – 1.00
  • Almond Milk – 1.99, that’s lowered from 2.59
  • MinuteMaid x4 – 4.00, that’s 2$ off cause of MegaEvent
  • Koolaid Drink Mix x2 – 2.00. It was originally 3.00 a pack, but it was on sale for 1.50, PLUS the Megaevent, saving me 4.00
  • Peanut Butter 16oz – .99 cents, down from 1.69, a 70 cent savings.
  • Jelly 2lb – 1.99
  • Bushes Northern Beans – .99 cents
  • Kroger Yogurt x2 – .80 cents
  • Poptarts 12 pack – 1.99
  • 6 pack popcorn – 1.99

That’s 19.41$ altogether including tax. By savings alone, not including switching to generic, I saved 7.80 cents on this trip. That’s a 29% savings for the whole trip! And to make things better, the other day I went to the store and got this!

25 cents

2 Loaves of White Bread for a total of 25 cents, and I froze the fuck outta it! I will have peanut butter toast for days! Which is about all I can eat on white bread, because wheat bread is SO much better.

I am going to take a lot of the vegetables that I have in the freezer and use it with the canned vegetables I have to make several servings of black bean soup with corn and veggies. Kinda like a stew, or a gumbo.

I get a fair amount of black beans, romaine lettuce, jalapenos, onions, and rice for free from my work, so that definitely helps a lot to be able to make them into something good. I often use the rice and Jalapenos to mix with chicken or smoked sausages for my husband, and he LOVES it! So I am able to make a quick one-pot dinner for him in that way. I often try to add a vegetable as well, so technically 2 pots.

Saving Money By: Freezing Food

Freezer
This actually looks better now that I organized it and added the Tyson chicken, but still…

I cook a lot and I cook often, but I don’t like cooking mini meals. Meals for just one person all the time, especially with products like potatoes or beans, that take a pretty long time to cook. So I like to make pretty big bulk sized food, and then freeze them for use on a later date.

There is a method that you can use, called Blanching, that is meant to keep the vegetables or fruit at peak perfection when you freeze them… I don’t do that. Too much time and effort, just to freeze something I am going to use in the next few days or weeks in a pasta sauce or a soup. Blanching is supposed to keep the frozen food crisp even after thawing. I am more of a crockpot kinda girl, so I don’t need it.

Right now, I am making about 3 servings of Lentils. I am going to take those, split them up, and freeze two of the servings and add the other to the fridge for later. I almost never cook when I am actually hungry. Which is odd, because I have basically no snack-foods in my house. Fruit is my go-to snack food, and I didn’t buy any this time. So my snack foods are now going to be potatoes, lentils, etc.

Some of the other foods you can freeze are:

  • Bread, bagels, anything like that
  • Juice
  • Cooked potatoes
  • Cooked beans
  • Meat
  • Rice
  • Raw cracked Eggs

You CANNOT really freeze Pasta, Dairy, Cooked Eggs, Almond milk, and some others.

I have been able to have a stockpile of rice in my freezer that I get from my job because it is foodwaste. I have like, 4 several pound bags in there right now, and it makes me happy that no matter what, I have rice to eat.

So definitely, if you can’t eat it before it goes bad, consider freezing it.  You will save up to hundreds of dollars on food waste every year simply by doing this.

HUGE Grocery haul for 37 bucks!

Sorry for the slightly blurry pictures, I swear I did not think they looked that way when I took them:

20160616_07175520160616_071746This huge haul only cost me 36.60, not including the 3.00 cashback I got to do laundry. I do basically ALL of my shopping at my local Food4Less, mainly because they often have awesome deals, and discounts, to go well with my coupons.

This time I used several Paper Coupons, which I am glad that I bought now because I was questioning whether or not I was just wasting money.

With a haul this big, plus the food I already have at hand, I might not need to go shopping at all for the next month, aside from maybe milk and almond milk, saving me a little bit of money on food.

In this haul I got:

  • 5 containers of Kroger yogurt – 2.00
  • 4 Tostino Party Pizza’s 4.00, would be 5.00 but I had a 1.00 of 4 Coupon.
  • Cilantro – 50 cents
  • Lipton Tea Family Size 24 pack x 2 – 1.99, I got it BOGO. Saved 60 cents over the Psst Brand.
  • Almond Milk – 2.59
  • Half Gallon Milk – 1.59
  • Invisible Tape – 1.00
  • Kroger eggs 18 count – FREE cause I did the General Mills store deal!
  • Dish Soap – 1.00
  • Tyson Thighs @ 4.9 pounds – 3.77 (Was on sale for .77 cents a pound)
  • Tyson Drumsticks @ 3.4 pounds – 2.63 (Was on sale for .77 cents a pound)
  • 5 lb bag of Potatoes – 1.29, store sale.
  • 5 General Mills cereal @ 4 for 8, so 10$… plus 2 coupons for 1$ off, so 5 boxes for 8$.
  • Mac and Cheese x 2 – 80 cents.
  • Kroger Canola Oil – 2.29
  • Pasta Sauce – 90 cents
  • Lentils – 1.37 for a pound.
  • Psst Buns – .80 cents.

In paper coupons I saved 5.00. Plus another 2.00 with the free eggs. I also got many items on sale, such as the Tyson chicken, which is usually about 2.20 a pound, now it is .77 cents a pound. which is about an 11.50 cent savings. I saved 50 cents on the Potatoes as well, giving me a total of about 23 dollars in savings, which is about 40%!

After the fact I bought a 12 pack of Toilet Paper for 5.00, it was 6.00 but I had a coupon for 1.00 off, making it cheaper than the store brand. I also got two 25 cent rebates for certain items, making everything 50 more cents off.

Coupons

As a result of my purchases, I also got these three Catalinas. One is a oil change for my non-existent car, one fits perfectly inside this 4 for 8 thing, with an extra 2 dollars off 5 boxes of General Mills cereal.

The other one is to save 1.25 off two family-size boxes of Lipton tea. I probably won’t use either coupon, but I am glad to know they exist. I am making some deviled eggs right now, so I am off to eat them!

Cheap Breakfast Southern Gravy Recipe!

Southern Gravy

Ok, so I don’t make this often, but when I do, it tastes wonderful! I make a pretty big batch because I buy a gallon of milk, but we don’t drink that much milk, and I drink exclusively almond milk, so this is a good way to make sure we use the whole gallon! Also, a half gallon at my store is like, 1.69, while a full gallon is about 2.19, so why would I NOT buy the whole gallon?

So here are the ingrediants you will need for this recipe:

Flour – about 2.50 for a bag, but you won’t even use a tenth of a bag, so about 20 cents worth of flour.

Bread – I use Wheat, which I can get for a dollar a loaf, sometimes at 50 cents a loaf. So that’s about 5 cents at most per slice, 2.5 cents at least. You are probably going to eat 2 slices per serving.

Milk – since a gallon is 2.19, you will be using about a third of a gallon, so about 73 cents.

Seasoning – Just pinches of pepper, salt, and really any other seasoning you want, but it doesn’t require anything else.

Sausage (Optional) – This biscuit gravy actually tastes great with breakfast sausage, which can be bought for about 3.00 a roll, and you will be using about half. Or 1.50 worth.

Now what you want to do is add the milk to a sautee pan, add in the spices, and bring it to a boil. while stirring it frequently add in a small amount of flour, for which just a few tablespoons should suffice. then turn the heat down to medium-low and let it simmer and sit for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

After that, if you are using breakfast sausage, add that in. If not, just place the pan to the side to cool an thicken. While that is happening, make the toast.

Plac the toast on a plate, and then cover it in the gravy. This pan should be able to make about 3-4 servings, making it a wonderful breakfast food for about 63 cents to a dollar per serving with sausage, or 32-42 cents without sausage!

As someone who lived down south, this is a wonderful breakfast recipe. My fiance, who is northern, thinks I am weird for liking this, but hey, whatevs.

Try it out for yourself and tell me what you think!