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Savvy Shopper and Freelance Writer for The Lubbock Avalanche Journal


This is my personal go-to list when I need some popcorn and a movie money. You won't get rich with any of these ideas, well, maybe you will and you'll feel led to donate some of your fortune to me. But, for the rest of us chickens, we gotta do what we gotta do to get that mani-pedi, latte, fill in the blank with whatever your justifiable mommy luxury is. So, how do you come up with a few extra bucks every week when you are a full time caretaker of 4 very small and loud people?

This is usually my very first choice for a few quick bucks. However, this may not work for you if you don't have a strong local readership for your area's Craiglist. The concept has grown in my area and I have sold almost everything I've posted at or near the price I was asking. Sell on Craigslist instead of Ebay or at a Garage Sale because you...
  1. Avoid hosting, posting, seller fees.
  2. Avoid a long drawn out process.
  3. Avoid getting up at 6am on a Saturday!
  4. Avoid the danger of flash mob thieving (yes, it happened to me when I was little - theivin' old folks stole my lemonade stand money - all $45 dollars!!!)
  5. Avoid the setup and teardown of garage sales.
  6. Avoid the loss of time, effort, or pride if no one buys your junk stuff.

Mystery Shop!
No, they're not all scams, and yes, you can make bank! I've actually mystery shopped for a jewelry store and I got paid, plus I got to keep the jewelry they reimbursed me for. Does it get any better than that, I ask? No. No it doesn't. Don't even try. Some of these are movie mysery shops, pizza or drive through shops, airport shops, etc. There's something for everyone. Here's some of the one's I work for. Your pay schedule is very important, so be sure to check that out before you commit!

Let's be honest. We all like to give our opinions, so why not get paid for it? If I had a dollar for every time I shared my opinion, well, I wouldn't be sitting here working on this blog. I take surveys every day. Some take longer than others. The great thing is that you can take them whenever and wherever if you have an Android, Blackberry, or iPhone. Waiting at the drive through, on a play date, at the bank, whatevs. Some of my favorite sites pay you with giftcards to places like Amazon, PayPal, or you can donate to your favorite charity. Plus, many sites have drawings for giveaways like vacations, trips to the spa, electronics, etc. Fun and easy money, no doubt. Some of my fave's...

Yes, I said it. Ebay. I know, we've all heard that it's a great place to sell stuff, but did you know they have a Classified's section now? Yep, and, it's local to you! This one takes some planning also, so you have to get started on this a few days before you'll need the money. And, if you are selling outside of your town you'll want to accept payment via PayPal. If you've been with them long enough, you can get a PayPal debit card and use your funds the same day you receive them.

Second Hand Clothing Shops
You have to do some local searching for these places, and you have to be prepared to go in there with the upcoming season's clothes/shoes. There's a reason this option is not my first method. You will recieve pennies on the dollar for your items, but, the trade off is, same day cash or store credit. You will probably make garage sale prices here, maybe lower. Like I said, not my first choice, but definitely a good choice for that gosh awful sweater Aunt Linda gave your kiddo for Christmas. Not that I would ever do such a thing. Ever.

Garage Sales
Anyone can throw a garage sale together on a Friday afternoon if they put their mind to it... although this is usually my pattern and it is a total pet peeve of my husband. I usually make $20+ dollars over what I'm aiming for, so he can't complain when its "finally" over. You gotta have a plan to make this work. First, post your flyers on your local telephone poles and then get to work posting it on Craigslist or some other local online billboard. Then, start making your piles, clear the top of your closets, and get ready for the 8am'ers who will be standing in your driveway waiting to give you their money.

None of these methods are fail safe. In fact, I failed at every one of them before I made money, but it's like having some insurance in your pocket in case you have a micro money emergency. If you have an easy or quick way for SAHM's to make a few bucks, let me know!