Spend Less and Earn More

by Katy on June 25, 2014 · 12 comments

Today is a Throwback Thursday blog post from May, 2011. Enjoy!

My son’s Iron Giant toy just sold for $102.50 on eBay.

I have been somewhat cash poor lately. My day job as a labor and delivery nurse has been a bit sporadic of late, (C’mon suburban Portland ladies, surely a night of fun and games without birth control is worth it. Right?!) and as a result my paychecks have been lighter than a piece of space shuttle Wonder Bread. And as much as I hate not having a checking account cushion, I am not stressing. Why?

Because I know how to spend less money and how to earn more money.

Here’s how my family spend less money this weekend:

  • Both my sons had soccer games over the weekend. We choose to have them play recreation soccer over classic soccer. This means a $45 playing fee rather than a $1000 fee.
  • I made pizza from scratch on Saturday night. This was partly due to a bag of shredded mozzarella cheese that I was worried was soon to get funky. I bought pepperoni and sausage from my local pizza joint, which set us back $1.
  • My younger son had a 24+ hour sleepover with an old friend. I rented them a movie from the Redbox near the house. I used a Groupon, which brought the price down to 33.34¢.
  • My older son had his girlfriend to the house all day Sunday. For dinner I made chicken adobo, using drumsticks, which are much cheaper than chicken breasts.
  • We drove nowhere except the soccer games, (for which we provided the carpool) and walked all our errands.
  • I took my younger son and his friend to the nearby nickel arcade. I used a coupon for free admission, which included $5 in nickels. I cautioned them to make the money last.
  • When it turned out that were at the arcade an hour before it opened, we walked over to the park where the boys played on the swings and had a contest about who could jump the farthest from their swing.
  • I made sure to return my marble reference book back to the library before it was due. This saves me 25¢ per day.
  • We did no recreational shopping, even to thrift stores.

Here’s how we made more money:

  • I continued selling extra valuable belongings on eBay. I currently have the last of my Goodwill marbles for sale, which will end tonight. I also sold my son’s Iron Giant stuffed robot for $102.50, (he gets to keep this money) and a stack of old Mary Engelbreit Home Companion magazines for $40.99.
  • I found $1.21 on the ground and in the change return slots at the arcade. I used part of this to pay off my 75¢ library fine.
  • I continued selling extra plants from my garden on my front steps. This may sound a bit meshugenah, but I made $1 yesterday, and when my younger son needed $10 cash for a haircut last week, I was able to grab some “plant money” to cover the cost. I estimate this little experiment has garnered $25.
  • My husband was a given a generous Starbucks gift card as a thank you for volunteering to coach the soccer team. He doesn’t volunteer for the freebies, but parents will often give him small token gifts.
  • I blogged. I don’t make a fortune with The Non-Consumer Advocate, but I did receive a Blogher check for $120.05 on Saturday.

None one of these frugal hacks will set you financially free, but the combination of everything together makes a huge difference in our lives.

Today, I will spend the day whipping the house into shape, dealing with a few Monday morning chores and maybe even planning a few more eBay listings. And hopefully, the scheduler at work will let me know that I’ve been granted a regular number of shifts for next month.

What are you doing to spend less and earn more? Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Denise June 26, 2014 at 4:23 am

I am definitely spending less and earning more this summer. I am currently going through the freezer and trying to use up odds and ends of food, and at the same time, I picked up 12 days of summer school remediation and 3 days of test administration for our standardize test. As a teacher, it’s nice to have summer’s off, but it’s also nice to pick up some extra cash.


Jamie June 26, 2014 at 4:28 am

I clean homes and studios some evenings for a little extra cash. I also love TaskRabbit for additional income because you can work around other schedules.


Katy @ Purposely Frugal June 26, 2014 at 10:12 am

Spending less – Trying to entertain the kids with free or cheap things. Like the summer reading program at the Library. They’ll get coupons for a free blizzard next time we’re at the library for the activities and reading they’ve done.

Earning more – Just got another $5 Amazon card from swagbucks. I also just purchased a dvd off amazon using only giftcards from swagbucks. It’s for my husbands b-day.
The local consignment store owes us $2.10. I know that’s not much, but we’ve made over $100 selling stuff there, that I’ve already gotten the money from.


Gladys (The Pinay Mom) June 26, 2014 at 1:19 pm

We also have pizza night once a week. I make them from scratch,it is indeed much cheaper than ordering take-out. And this week, I will get my $19.10 rewards check from a credit card company (I earn rewards through bonus points). I signed up lately for a promotion that has interest-free for 6 months.


emmer June 27, 2014 at 6:00 am

saved–used $15.35 in coupons for actual–not junk–food at the grocery. saved $11.71 at another grocery by shopping on 10% off senior day. slid two library books back late the day they were due, so no fine. found 11 cents. mended dh’s slacks where cuffs frayed, so didn’t spend $8.
made $15 giving a sewing lesson. sold a kit to make potholder for $9. sold a book to powells books for $4.35.


emmer June 27, 2014 at 6:01 am

saved–used $15.35 in coupons for actual–not junk–food at the grocery. saved $11.71 at another grocery by shopping on 10% off senior day. slid two library books back late the day they were due, so no fine. found 11 cents. mended dh’s slacks where cuffs frayed, so didn’t spend $8.
made– $15 giving a sewing lesson. sold a kit to make potholder for $9. sold a book to powells books for $4.35.


K D June 27, 2014 at 8:12 am

I am not earning an A in that department lately, but our income is more than adequate due to my husband receiving three raises in the past year. In the food department I have finally figured out that fruit that you prepare is generally cheaper than ready to eat fruit, thus we are eating a lot more pineapple and melons and less of other fruits. We still mostly shop and eat based on the pantry principle and don’t eat out very often. We have been playing card and board games some evenings so that is cheap entertainment, along with Netflix shows.


Betsey June 27, 2014 at 10:12 am

I gave up fast food and have been cooking at home a lot. It isn’t easy for one person (although I do love to entertain), so I do meals that freeze well or make enough to last 2 meals or more.
I found a yard sale that had clothing my size with the tags still on many of the pieces. For $10, I bought 5 items which I treasure. Added up, they would have cost me over $150.
Love free concerts!
I have discovered that in my apartment complex, there are many people who gather in the clubhouse at 10 each morning to chat. We bring our own coffee and enjoy. Much better than the movies.
I put all my banking accounts on line. I think that is the way to go. I never worry about stamps and get everything paid on time with a click of the mouse.
I never buy household cleansers. Baking soda, vinegar, and Bon Ami do all the work for me.


JD June 27, 2014 at 10:19 am

Saving — since we are living on 25% of the income we made 4 years ago, saving is a way of life these days. I’m looking for good ways to increase that income while still working a 40-45 hr. per week job, but nothing has come about so far.
We try to make doctor and dentist appointments and necessary shopping trips in the nearest city (an hour’s drive away) on days when we get different special savings at stores, such as veteran’s discounts, since my husband is a veteran. If you have a veteran in the family, ask at each store you shop in — most won’t publicize their discounts so you must ask. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Earth Fare (a grocery chain) and Bass Pro have discounts to veterans and most are only at their retail stores, not online. If we have to buy it new at a store, we always ask about discounts, since my husband is also a “senior” now.
I’ve been making many things at home — cleaners, personal care products, gifts — and preserving our own foods. We grow some of our own veggies and try to just plain eat less, which has been good for “middle-aged spread” anyway. And I hang out almost all of my laundry or use a drying rack.
I have to tell you what my daughter did, though. She replaced her car battery recently, and when the clerk reminded her that the new battery has a 3-year warranty, she asked the clerk to look up her purchase of the old (dead) battery. It was 2 years and 11 months ago and it had also had a 3 year warranty — her money for the purchase of the new battery was refunded! Score!


Katy June 27, 2014 at 11:27 am

I love your daughter’s gumption!


Laura June 27, 2014 at 11:34 am

This is off topic but was wondering – Are you going to do another food stamp challenge this July? I always liked those.


Katy June 27, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Funny you should mention that. I am just now starting to plan one. Although I think it’ll just be for a week though.



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