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Mystery Shopping

September 7th, 2006 at 03:01 pm

Now that my 2 oldest boys are back in school I've decided to start mystery shopping again. I'm going to limit it to my hometown though because of gas prices. Most shops don't pay much, but every little bit counts. Plus I get reimbursed for purchases (within limits) so that equals free necessities. I decided any money I make, including reimbursements, will go in my challenge jar. I'm hoping to use money out-of-pocket to pay for any purchases, but occassionaly I may need to fund my mystery shopping from the challenge jar. For those times I will think of it as an investment.

I already completed my first assignment last night. I got my hair cut (which I desperately needed) at a reputable salon. I will be reimbursed the $14 I spent and paid $5 for the shop. I also have a grocery shop scheduled for tomorrow. That will pay $7 and I will be reimbursed $15.

I'm going to list the mystery shops as pending till I actually have the money to deposit in my Challeng Jar


$49.41 CHALLENGE JAR TOTAL


PENDING PAYMENTS
$14.00 MS Hair Cut Reimbursment
$ 5.00 MS Hair Cut Pay
$15.00 MS Grocery Shop Reimbursment
$ 7.00 MS Grocery Shop Pay

Zoo Trip

September 3rd, 2006 at 03:24 pm

We took the boys to the zoo yesterday for one last trip before school starts. We packed a lunch & just used what we had already, so we saved money there. Admission was free thanks to our zoo membership from another zoo. The boys brought their own spending money, so I didn't have to listen to whining for outrageously expensive items.

I did splurge though & bought them each a nice plastic cup with a lid for $1.99 each. I really like the cups for use at home (less spillage). I justified the expense because they had a coupon in them for a free freezie (sp?) and members also get free fountain refills.

On the way home we stopped at BK and got something to eat. No high-priced meals for us though- everyone gets a burger (DH got 2), the boys split a large fry and we got water to drink.

Daily Spending:
$6.00 Zoo cups
$8.02 BK
$14.02

$7.01 matched in challenge jar for a new total of : $49.41

Rite-Aid Double Dip Days

September 2nd, 2006 at 01:45 am

I went to Rite-Aid today for "Double Dip Days." Basically- at the end/beginning of every month some of their rebates overlap. And sometimes there's some really sweet deals because of it. This month it's today & tomorrow. I paid $29.99 for a "Home Cafe Coffee System" that was priced $59.99. And I'll get a $20 rebate for August & a $20 rebate for September. Yep, you did the math right- I'm going to actually make $10 off this deal. Plus I have either a great Christmas present or an item to put on ebay & make more money. I also plan on going back tomorrow to get some other items.

I spent a total of $40.88, but I got some really sweet deals because they also have 75% off their summer items. I picked up 3 cool crayola things for the boys for xmas and a frisbee & 3 balls for them to play with now. Since I didn't need to buy the toys I'm going to match the spendings in my challenge jar. So that's an additional 3.33 making a new total of $42.40.

Show Me the Money! (My Income Ideas)

August 30th, 2006 at 03:03 pm

I've been brainstorming & researching all week about ways I can make money from home without investing alot of money. I'm looking for a way to make at least $50 a week for general income to go towards bills, debt & our EF. Plus I'm also thinking of little easy ways to make some chump change to add to my challenge jar. I've come up with several ideas. I think I've decided what I'm going to try, but I'm going to list them in case some one else can use some ideas too.

Additional Income Possiblities:
1) Find another kid to babysit regularly
2) Have drop-in babysitting 3 days a week
3) Do before & after school childcare
4) Have "Healthy Home" Parties to sell my Melaleuca products & Essential Oils
5) Start a Grocery Shopping & Delivery Service
6) Do Holistic Housecleaning
7) Buy clearance & yard sale items to sell on Ebay or Half.com
8) Try to sell homemade gift baskets & crafts
9) Become a party planner
10) Decorate & sell cakes

What I'm going to do is #5- Start a Grocery Shopping & Delivery Service! I'm actually really excited about this idea. I figure I should be able to really sell this because none of the grocery stores in town have delivery & my couponing makes for cheaper bills. I just have to hammer out all the details now.

Money for Challenge Jar Ideas:
1) Mystery Shopping
2) Paid Emails
3) Paid Surveys
4) Sell stuff I already own on Ebay or Half.com
5) Write reviews & articles for money
6) Roll all my pennies (I *never do!)
7) Take bottles back (DH normally does & whoever does keeps the money)
8) Sell my extra coupons on Ebay
9) Start doing rebates
10) Play scratch-off tickets LOL (Joking)

I plan on doing all of these- except #10 of course! I think it's a good idea I posted them here because than maby I'll actually do them.

Coupons = Free Items = A Happy Challenge Jar

August 28th, 2006 at 07:29 pm

I've always loved the idea of taking the money you saved using coupons and putting it away. Unfortunately my budget won't allow me to do that- I have to use coupons so the money we save can go towards bills & such. But I figured out an alternative idea- I decided that every time I get free items due to my coupon usage I'm going to put .10 into my challenge jar. (I wanted to do .25 for every free item, but I got 38 free items this weekend and I don't have the 9.50 to donate right now!)

So here's where I'm at with my challenge so far:

$33.35 Challenge Jar
3.80 for Free Items
1.92 Change found cleaning bedroom
39.07 New Total for Challeng Jar

Bargain Shopping Day

August 26th, 2006 at 08:36 pm

Summer Saturday's are my bargain shopping days. If the weather's right I'm out scouring yard sales for unbeatable deals. For just $8.25 my great finds today were a like new Michigan Fleece & cute fall shirt for me, 3 school shirts, jean shorts, pj's, undies, snow pants & sandals for my 2 oldest DS and a New "Picnic Backpack".

Now we needed everything except the Picnic Backpack, but I've wanted one for so long I couldn't resist. And it was only $2.00!!! So I'll match that in my challenge jar and still be way happy!

**I'll add in a picture of it after supper!**

I also went to Goodwill today. I love that place! Especially on the last Saturday of the month- everything's 1/2 off! I only spent 2.62 there. Added to my winter decor with a snowflake tealight holder, fed my book obsession, got my middle DS a needed school box and picked up 2 Pokemon Invites & 2 pokemon napkins for my DS birthday party. So that's another $1.00 matched in my challenge jar.


$8.25 Yard Sales
+ 2.62 Goodwill
$10.87 Total Daily Spending

Challenge Jar
$30.35 Total Before
+ 3.00 Matched Spending
$33.35 New Total

Curbing Impulse Buys

August 24th, 2006 at 09:14 pm

I've been reading a whole bunch and have some new ideas for my challenge.

My first one is this:
Any unnecessary spending will have to be matched in my $20 challenge. For example- if I stop at Wendy's for a frosty then not only will it cost me the $1.05 for my treat, I'll have to put $1.05 in my jar too. So that means I'd be out double the money. I'm hoping this will curb my impulse buys. I usually don't treat myself to fast food very often, but I do have the hardest time saying no to clearance items! And maby I'll even take it one step further- if I do resist temptation then I'll take half the money I would of spent and put it in the challenge jar. That should help build it up!

And I'm devising other things that if I do then I'll pay my challenge jar. For now I've added $10.35 to it- the silver from my change purse that normally would get wasted on quarter machines for the boys & maby an occasional frosty. Smile

Previous Total: 20.00
Change Purse Silver: 10.35
Challenge Jar Total: 30.35

My $20 challenge starts today!

August 24th, 2006 at 08:56 pm

First off- I'm changing it from the original challenge so it'll be a little more realistic for me. I'm starting the $20 Challenge because I think it'll be a great motivator. I'm making this as a challenge to myself to see how small things really can make big differences. The end result will be applied to my dh's credit card and my goal of being debt-free.

These are the "rules" I've decided on:

1) My goal is $150 by 2007, subject to be raised if I find it's easier to obtain than predicted.
2) I'm starting out fresh- with only $20 and no past savings (like current change tin) to be put towards the challenge.
3) I can use challenge money to "fund" sales that will bring more money. (For example- selling things on ebay or half.com)
4) Any "non-income money" can be used towards the challenge. Such as rebates, paid surveys, pop bottle returns & such.

I'm using the $20 profit I still have leftover from my garage sale a few weeks ago to start my challenge. I think I'm going to label a jar and put it by the computer for daily reminder/inspiration. Well, I guess that's all I can think of now- I might come back and add or modify things later. Wish me luck!

Starting Balance: 20.00