Ultimate Bundles is one that more and more bloggers are becoming familiar with – and for good reason! If you’ve read my post on affiliate marketing, you’re well aware that there are a number of options and routes to take when it comes to making money with affiliate marketing; that said, let me stop you right now and let you in on the one affiliate program you should join TODAY —
Ultimate Bundles Review
Now obviously I do want to throw a disclaimer in there that I am in fact an affiliate for them so should you sign up, I’ll earn commission, but this post was meant to be either way. They’re just that good.
Ultimate Bundles is a company that puts together HUGE bundles of e-books, courses, product discounts, and more – and they put them together in such a way that saves their customers literally THOUSANDS of dollars.
Now I first heard of Ultimate Bundles when the Genius Bloggers’ Toolkit was launched last year. This toolkit was a game changer for me and I absolutely fell in love with Ultimate Bundles. I knew I had to become an affiliate! And by the end of this post, I’m confident you’ll know you need to do the same. Why? Well…
Ultimate Bundles Payout
Affiliates for Ultimate Bundles typically earn 40% of each sale they make, with contributors earning 70%. That means that if you contribute one of your products to a bundle selling for $97, you stand to earn nearly $700 for every 10 people who purchase the bundle through your link! And that’s just ONE bundle! And even if you don’t have anything to contribute, you still stand to earn an average of about $40 per bundle you sell.
This is only an example of potential earnings and should not be taken as typical results.
Ultimate Bundles Discounts
One of the downsides to most affiliate programs is that you can’t earn a commission on your own purchases (lookin’ at you, Amazon…) Well, I’m happy to announce this is NOT the case with Ultimate Bundles. Not only do you get an automatic 40% discount on a bundle because you’re an affiliate, but if you sell 5 of those bundles, they will refund your purchase and you get the bundle FOR FREE. Pretty nifty, eh?
Since learning of Ultimate Bundles, I’ve purchased three bundles: Genius Blogger’s Toolkit, The Ultimate Work at Home Bundle, and A Very Merry Gift Certificate Bundle. And I can promise you that each one of them was worth WELL beyond what I actually paid for them. The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit contained programs and courses I’d been wanting to buy for months – programs and courses worth well over $3,000!! – and I got it all for $97. Then there was the Holiday Bundle – $180 worth of gift certificates for only $15 – which led to my buying all sorts of gifts (for both myself and friends/family) while only having to spend a few extra dollars on shipping. It was AMAZING.
No matter who your target market is, chances are Ultimate Bundles has a bundle for them. And if they haven’t yet, they probably will. They’re even open to suggestions!
Ultimate Bundles doesn’t just toss an affiliate link at you and send you on your merry way, oooh no. Instead they offer up HOURS of free education for all of their affiliates.
Don’t know what sort of blog post to write to promote a bundle? They’ll walk you through it.
Don’t know how to go about e-mail marketing? They’ll walk you through it.
Don’t even know where to start with it all? Yep, that’s right…they’ll walk you through it!
And this information they give to you isn’t just applicable to Ultimate Bundle sales, but to your blog strategies overall! And again – it’s FREE!!
Look at you, readin’ all the way through and still not sold. 😉 Okay, okay so there is a catch…sorta. The bundles are only available at certain times throughout the year – meaning if you don’t take the time to plan out an action plan for these sales, you’ll be left scrambling and won’t make nearly as many sales as you’re capable of during the sale window. That said – see above. Ultimate Bundles is always there to help and they even have a Facebook community available should you have questions or need additional support!
So what are you waiting for?
Sign up for be an Ultimate Bundles Affiliate today! Save
Paying down debt can go such a long way to living a better, healthier life. Less debt means less stress, but it also means less time spent having to find ways to make sure the bills are paid each month.
In January 2016, our household debt totaled over $200,000.
Now you might think that someone with nearly $200,000 of debt must have a serious spending problem. That or a very nice house, a fancy car, perhaps an addiction to the smell of burning money… SOMETHING, right?
All we have to show for our debt is an 8 year old mini-van, a 130 year old fixer-upper of a home, and two college degrees that between us cost $150,000.
Full disclosure, here is our debt breakdown from January 2016:
Lowes Credit Card: $2,800
Furniture Row Credit Card: $1,782
Private student loans: $96,646.09
Federal Student Loans: $46,094.17
Grand total: $208,892.49
Living Paycheck to Paycheck
Our Lowes and Furniture Row bills are (were) the only credit card debt we had. We used both when we purchased our house in August of 2014 so that we could purchase some much needed appliances and furniture. Fortunately they both offered zero percent interest for a set amount of time, but still – $4,600 in credit card debt is a huge chunk of change to carry around.
Meanwhile, my husband and I both have a LOT of student loan debt. Despite both of us working while in college, we fell into the trap of taking out way more than we should have.
Rather than taking the smarter route and going to a community college first, I spent all four years at a private school that cost me about $36,000/year. My partner did go to a community college first, but was still persuaded to take out a lot of student loans to help support himself while in school.
Nearly $150,000 in student loan debt and together our jobs net us $33,000/year (after daycare is factored out…)
So how in the world have we managed to pay down over $10,000 in debt in two months?
Well, our first step was to take a look at our budget and figure out where the majority of our money was going. We were paying $1,600/month towards our debt but the overall total was only decreasing by $1,100. Once we figured out why and how that was happening, we were able to change things up to make a more significant dent in our debt.
How to Pay Down Debt Fast
Disclaimer: This post does contain some affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission should you click through. This is no way impacts my recommendation of any products or services.
Pay Off Your Debt Based on Interest Rates
Some financial gurus recommend you snowball your money (pay off the smallest debts first, get a “high” from paying off a bill entirely, then roll that payment towards paying off the next smallest debt).
Here’s my problem with that:
Let’s say you owe one credit card $2,000 with 0% interest for three years (such was the case with my Furniture Row card) and another credit card is owed $4,000 with 24.9% interest (the usual rate for most Lowes purchases).
You have $300 to put towards your debt each month. If you put $170 towards the first debt and only $130 towards the second, it will take you a year to pay off that first card.
Meanwhile, in that year, you’ve put $1,560 towards that second card but have only paid it down by about $500 – that’s not even a third!!
So with the snowball method, you’ve put $3,600 towards your debt but at the end of one year, you will still owe over $3,500 (that will now take you another 14 months to pay off and cost you an additional $700 dollars).
Snowball method: Pay $300 for 26 months, $6,000 of debt = $7,800
So what if you reversed it and paid the minimum due on the zero interest and the rest towards the second card?
You’d be looking at $70 towards the first card, $230 towards the second.
In the first year, you would put $2,760 towards your second card, $2,070 of which would be towards the principal.
Paying based on interest rates: Pay $300 for 24 months, $6,000 of debt = $7,200
So not only would you save yourself nearly $600, but you’d also have an additional $300/month two months sooner than you would with the snowball method.
That’s $1,200 you can now throw towards another debt (like your mortgage!)
The Snowball Method
Now I will say that the snowball method has been proven to work for many people and it can be an effective way to motivate yourself to pay down those debts. But depending on your financial situation, you might be paying quite a high price for that motivation.
So for today, the first thing to do to get started towards paying down $10k like I did is to look at your budget and list out every debt you owe, the APR on it, and what you’re currently paying each month. Don’t have a budget? Read this quick and easy post to develop a budget TODAY!
Having a good grasp on your financial situation is the very first step to improving it.
Maximize Your Tax Return
When the new year begins, people are often really struggling with debt. You want to set a resolution to become debt free but you’re coming off of the holiday season with bags of presents that translate into slips of paper covered in financial regret.
It’s easy to see why you might look to tax return time with a glimmer of hope.
The problem, however, is that more often than not, tax returns are seen as a way to buy new stuff; the cheapest time to buy cars, for instance, is right before tax season, as dealers want to get rid of old stock and they know people are about to have pockets full of “discretionary” money.
I know a lot of people who get their tax returns and buy handbags, TVs, go gambling, buy an ostrich, or whatever other things suddenly become a “need” in their eyes. Now I’m not here to judge, I’m just sayin’…
Stop Seeing It As “Free Money”
That money isn’t just given to you by the government! It is money that you earned, one way or another, that the government was holding until your tax variable whosits decided you didn’t owe them anything.
If the government wasn’t taxing that money out of your check, would you just drop 15% of your paycheck each month on carnival games and gumballs?
For the 99.9% of us who aren’t Willy Wonka — of course you wouldn’t! Please stop thinking of it as free money and start realizing it should be allocated towards paying down your debt.
There’s no doubt that there’s a psychological high to getting a big windfall dumped in your lap, but if you truly have a good grasp on your financial situation, you know that “windfall” could translate into so much more.
By allocating my $5,500 tax refund towards my debt, I saved myself nearly $1,300 that I would have otherwise paid out in interest over the next year.
Was it tempting to spend that money on a vacation or some nifty new cleaning supplies? Yes absolutely. I totally believe in treating yourself once in a while, but I also know it’s better to front load your life and pay down debt now versus having it stick to you for decades.
How to Make the Most of Your Tax Return
If you’ve already received your tax refund, I want you to take a genuinely honest look at how you allocated that money. Did you spend it wisely? Or did you spend it in a way that’s going to cost you so much more in the long run? How can you do better next year?
Seriously make note of this and then I want you to hop over to FutureMe – a website in which you can write an e-mail and schedule it to be sent to your future self. Write a quick e-mail and motivate your future self to do better next year. Schedule it to be sent on January 2nd of next year so you don’t forget to do better!
If you haven’t yet received your tax refund, I want you to open up your list on debts and figure out how you can best allocate that money. Is there a bill you can pay off entirely? Or would it be better to divvy it up among a few of them? Figure out a plan and FOLLOW THROUGH with it! Budget your estimated tax return towards your debts, not towards a trip or new frivolous purchase.
Evaluate Your Tax Situation
And for those of you who don’t get returns (or worse – have to pay!) now is a good time to re-evaluate that situation. Chances are good that you have less being taken out in taxes with each paycheck than the rest of us. That’s great provided you’re spending it wisely. But if you don’t yet have a strong hold on your financial situation, then maybe you should talk to your employer about changing up your W-4. While I don’t necessarily advocate asking the government to save your money for you – there are ways to trick yourself into saving otherwise – it’s not a bad thing if you then allocate your return towards debt.
Develop Additional Income Streams
Or rather, that should say: “Develop Additional Income Streams And ONLY Use The Money To Pay Off Debt” but that’s a bit of a mouth…err…eye-full?
Anyway, as it sounds, developing additional income streams is key to getting your debt paid down faster, which I’ve already talked about, but it bears repeating.
I hope by now you’ve developed your own budget and I hope you’ve done so based only on your primary income. Please don’t ever use possible or imaginary money when it comes to planning out your financial future!
With that said, including only your primary income in your budget means that any extra money that comes your way can (and should) go directly towards your debt.
Consider this: for most people, one extra mortgage payment per year will pay their house off seven years sooner. That’s one extra payment for seven years of debt freedom. What are those seven years worth to you?
There are a lot of ways to earn some extra money (that don’t involve the removal of clothing or the selling of body parts). A part time job, though not necessarily glamorous, will generate reliable extra income that you can have direct deposited into an account that automatically makes a payment to a bill each month. It’s a great way to not even be tempted to spend that extra money.
Don’t have the time to work an additional job outside the home? That’s okay, neither did I!
My Favorite Ways to Make Extra Cash
If you can write, Textbroker.com should be your go-to site to generate extra money quickly and easily. You provide a short writing sample, they evaluate it and rate it 1-5 stars, and you earn money based on your star rating. I’m at 4 stars and I earn about 1.4 cents/word. It doesn’t seem like much, but if you enjoy writing and can do so quickly, it adds up fast. I’ve made close to $800 since the beginning of the year. That’s a tremendous amount of money for something I do over my lunch hour a couple days a week.
Do you like to talk instead of write? UserTesting.com has recently become one of my favorite ways to earn extra income. I keep the site open whenever I’m online and if I hear the “ping” telling me a job is available, I jump on it! 15 minutes later and I’m $10 richer!
Upwork.com is another site where you can apply for freelance jobs online. Writing, design, coding, virtual assistant work – all of these and so much more! You can pick up a variety of jobs fairly easily, with little hassle plus you are in charge of the price. The better you are, the higher you can charge, and there’s thousands of offers on the site all the time. I’ve made $150 from them so far this year and the majority of that is actually from companies approaching ME. It’s great!
As I mentioned, I’ve gone over a few of these and then some in another post, but these are a few of my favorites. Just from working from home, I’ve managed to make nearly $3,000 this year.
My latest check from SurveySavvy!
Put Credit to Work For You!
If you knew me in college, you would have never thought I’d be someone you’d want to take financial advice from. When I turned 18 and was able to sign up for credit cards – WATCH OUT!
I remember sitting in my dorm room one night with a friend of mine and we were talking about money; she asked how I could sleep at night, knowing I had SO much credit card debt hanging over my head. I shrugged it off at the time, figuring I’d be in debt forever, have terrible credit, and who cares, right? At least I got that sweet PS2 so we could play DDR! (#collegelife amiright?)
In the years since then, I have paid for that silly gaming system many, many times over. Fortunately I’m happy to say I’m in a good place now with my credit and let me tell you – having good credit makes a world of difference in so many ways, especially when it comes to making credit work FOR you instead of AGAINST you.
Provided you’re like me now and not like 18 year old me, having a credit card can be a great thing. Personally, I have a Discover IT card because I’ll get DOUBLE all the cash back I earn in the first year but I definitely encourage you to shop around and find a card that best suits your needs. If you’re a hardcore Amazon shopper like I am, the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card might be a better option for you (both offer a $50 sign-up bonus if you sign up via my referral link!)
Once you’ve got a great card that provides cash back, charge every bill that you can and then pay the card off IMMEDIATELY.
Do NOT adjust your budget. NO passing go. DON’T CHARGE ANYTHING YOU CANNOT PAY OFF THAT SAME MONTH!
Provided you use your card wisely, you’ll see a great amount of money back in your pocket.
Most cards are 1-2% back on everything, and then somewhere between 3% and 5% back on random specific things, like gas or groceries. Make sure it’s unlimited to some respect, even if it’s just the 1% back that’s unlimited.
All told, you might end up with as much as 10% or more back on expenses you would have had to pay anyway.
Between cycling balances on my card and cashback from purchases made through Rakuten, I have earned about $400 so far this year, which then went directly to paying down debt.
Insiders Tip with a rebate site like Rakuten : Use it whenever you can! Many stores now offer in-store pick-up. Save yourself time and money by shopping through Rakuten for your purchases as often as possible. This will also help eliminate impulse spending if you go nowhere in the store but the service counter. (Click here to read more on how I’ve earned thousands from Ebates!)
How to get started…
Go through your budget and highlight in yellow everything you can pay for using a cashback rewards card. Calculate what you would earn back in a month if you used a card to pay for said expenses.
Then have an honest conversation with yourself about whether or not you can limit yourself to ONLY using your credit card for things already in your budget. If you can, then I highly encourage you to apply for one (as I mentioned, I like Discover or Amazon, but again – find one that works for YOU!)
If you have any doubt about using your card wisely, please don’t do it. Don’t put yourself in a situation that might lead to more debt instead of less.
And if you’re already using a cashback card, I do hope you’re using what you earn to pay down other debts and not to pay down your card’s balance.
Identify Why You Buy!
Why do we take such great pleasure in buying things? Why does having “more” bring so many such comfort?
Maybe it provides a primal level of mental security, knowing you won’t go without. Or maybe, for some, it’s more of an ego-related feeling – “I’m wonderful and people will know that when they see I have these wonderful things!”
Perhaps it’s because you had nothing growing up and having “more” means staying away from those icky feelings from the past.
Here are some questions to help you pinpoint why you buy:
Do you feel the need to “keep up with the Joneses”?
Does your brand loyalty hurt your budget?
Are you distracting yourself from inner dissatisfaction with new, shiny play things?
Do you think brand name guarantees high quality?
Are you addicted to luxury?
If you cannot identify “why you buy” then you will be unable to say “no” when the desire for more arises. By allowing yourself to constantly want, want, want, you are forcing yourself out of the present and living for what might be, for what you might acquire.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t live for the future. As you know, I’m all about developing long-term plans in order to kick debt to curb. However, you should focus on what will be, not what could be.
As is the case with budgeting your life overall, a long view of your purchases can help with this – a new shirt at full price might be $50 now, but that same $50 taken off of a credit card balance with 22% interest can end up being $60 or more.
Being able to view a purchase in terms of how much it will cost later on versus the immediate need to fulfill a desire will help immensely in avoiding impulse purchases. Like the adage “nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels,” no unnecessary purchase can bring you the peace of mind and reduce your stress like obtaining financial freedom.
Likewise, living in the past isn’t always a bad thing either. Think about where you were a couple years ago and what your household income was. Now think about what your expenses were. Are you spending more because you make more?
If you are in debt, you should not be upping your lifestyle to fit your current salary!
I know so many people who made $40,000/year, got a raise or better job, and instead of putting that additional income towards debt, they have now somehow incurred $10,000 more in expenses (often without realizing it!)
So how do you break these habits and learn to be happy with less?
Well, one of my favorite things to do is to keep a gratitude journal. I recommend against notebooks, simply because the covers are often flimsy, and you want to be able to carry this around with you. Any time you’re feeling down or you’re tempted by an extravagant purchase, pull out your journal and write down five things you’re grateful for.
Doing this will make you happier overall. I guarantee it.
Another thing to help you on your road to satisfaction with less is to consider where less already makes you happy.
For example, less clutter can equal MORE money and that almost certainly helps improve your mood, no? From the humble beginnings of trying to clear out stuff when we moved a couple years ago, to now where I almost constantly have stuff up on Facebook garage sale/resale groups, I’m averaging around $500 per garage sale and nearly $100/month on Facebook. Since November 2015 alone, I’ve made nearly $750 from selling things we no longer need (and this includes kids clothes that I actually got for FREE!)
I recently read a great book called The Brain That Changes Itself and one part that really stuck with me was that the more you practice saying no, the easier it’ll become.
How to get started:
Practice saying NO. Not just to others, but to yourself. Not only will this go a long way in helping your financial state, but it’ll actually re-wire your brain and lead to a healthier, better life overall. How cool is that?
(Re)Define Your Budget!
It’s not enough to make broad goals like “I want to lose weight” or “I will be financially independent”. It’s great to use these as a part of your affirmations but as goals? No.
You must be specific, B-E specific!
You should create and define clear goals that will build towards that momentous success of living a better life on a budget.
Instead of “I will stop using my credit card and pay it off!” Come up with a plan to pay off that card in X number of months. Figure out exactly what’s causing you to use the card now and how you’re going to stop those behaviors.
If physically cutting up the card gives you anxiety, consider freezing it – literally. Put it in a bowl of water and stick it in the freezer. It won’t eliminate your access to it but it’ll certainly give you time to think about whether or not you really need it to make that purchase.
Once you’ve set your goals, take a look at your budget and figure out your plan of action. I recommend starting by immediately cutting your budget by 5%.
Impossible, you say?
When I started this journey in January, I was able to take our $2,500/month income and trim it up by an additional 8%. I too thought it impossible at first until I took the time to develop an action plan.
After evaluating your financial budget, take an honest look at how you’re spending your time. Just as small purchases add up – a $3 cup of coffee doesn’t seem so bad…until you realize a canister of coffee at home would only cost you $10 for at least two weeks of coffee… – so do the “time sucks.”
Sure, maybe you only spend an hour watching TV each night but what if in that hour you could be earning $20? That’s over $7,000/year (nearly $9,000 if that $7k is on an unpaid credit card with 22% APR!)
I’m not suggesting you use every minute of every day to work towards paying down your debt. You must take the time for self-care in more than one way and if that means watching a bit of TV, then go for it! The important part is making sure you’re not wasting hours now that you may not have later.
So there you have it!
In two months, I was able to pay down my debt by over $10,000 by:
Paying based on interest rates
Putting my tax return to use
Developing additional income streams
Making credit work for me instead of against me
Identifying and breaking the habits that lead to wanting more
Redefining the way I budget my life
Our debt, while still quite high, now looks like this:
Lowes Credit Card: $0
Furniture Row Credit Card: $0
Student Loans: 138,116.82
Difference of $10,588.67
I can’t say this has been an easy road, nor will it get any easier any time soon, but there is not a doubt in my mind that this is the best path towards a better, healthier, happier life.
I know this is a long post (and probably a bit overwhelming) but if you take it one step at a time, you too can pay down a significant amount of debt in a short amount of time!
Consider this blog post a quick cheatsheet for improving your finances in the long run so no matter your goal – working from home, getting out of debt, having extra spending cash each month – you can get there sooner rather than later.
Start a Budget
Knowing how much money you have right now, what your expenses are, and what’s most important is the foundation of getting financially fit. If you don’t yet have a budget (or you have one you don’t follow) then PLEASE develop one! I know it can seem overwhelming at first but you have no idea how much stress you’re carrying around by NOT having one. Read more about how to start a budget here!
Identify Your Debts, Highest Interest to Lowest
A lot of advice you’ll see about finances suggests paying off your lowest debt first and then applying that payment to others, but I’m not a fan of this sort of expensive motivation. Instead, aggressively pay from highest to lowest interest rates. This way you’re saving money that would normally wrack up over the year. A 22% interest rate $1,000 loan is $220 a year – that’s an INSANE amount of extra money paid!
Get a Cash Back Credit Card
Whether you have great credit, terrible credit, or no credit, having a cash back card is a great way to always save money (but ONLY if you can use it wisely!) Most cards offer up to 5% cash back (with a limit usually) on certain times and then 1-2% back unlimited on everything else. This is key because the economy right now isn’t offering a ton of savings account rates even approaching 1 or 2%. With the wealth of credit companies out there, most people can get a small line of credit with has cash back. Personally, I recommend the Discover Card – they give you an automatic $50 just for signing up if you click through this link!
$250 in six months – money lost without Discover!
Put Your Card and Budget Together
Take a look at your budget and highlight the things that you pay on a regular basis – gas, electric, garbage, groceries…. Seems silly not to try and save as much as possible on those, right? So why not make it a set-in-stone priority to charge recurring bills to the credit card and then immediately pay it off each month. As long as you never charge up more than you intend to pay off and NEVER carry a balance, you’re literally getting paid by the credit card company to buy stuff you would anyway. Pretty amazing, no?
Find a Side Gig/Hustle/Part-Time Job
Budget in the money you get from your primary income source and stay on top of it, then make a plan to pay off even more. No matter how much time you have left in your day, there are ALWAYS ways to make extra money each month to apply towards debts.
Check out these articles on the best ways to make extra cash online:
Almost everyone has a basement/closet/garage full of stuff that’s literally doing nothing but collecting dust and taking up space. Not only can you easily sell this stuff, but having clutter around can impact your mental health, too. Check out this post on how/why to declutter today!
Make the Most of Your Cash
There comes a time in your life when you realize that what you think is important really isn’t, and one of those things is name-brand anything. Aldi is my favorite grocery store, but even if you don’t have one in your area, there are always options to save money outside your big box store (like Walmart…ick…) Shop online, visit your local farmer’s markets, and reduce your grocery budget as often as possible! Be sure to use Ibotta to save even more (because seriously, it’s free…you like free money, don’t you?)
Be More Mindful
This goes hand-in-hand with reevaluating your dedication to name brands, but consider everything you buy as a chance to exercise free will. Every minor purchase – a coffee in the morning on your way to work, for instance – can and does add up over the course of a year. A grande drip from Starbucks, for instance, is $1.94 around here, and if you get one even 3 times a week, you’re looking at about $300/year, just in coffee. If you take that $6 and buy grounds that make 30 cups of coffee, and invest in a modest coffee maker at home, you’ll save AT LEAST $200/year!
The problem is, however, that the saving are small and need to compound to see the difference and that’s where mindfulness comes into play. Being aware of your money makes you less apt to waste it. Try thinking of going out to eat in terms of how many hours you have to spend at your job to pay for it, and you’ll see what I mean.
Establish Goals and Timelines
Set a goal and your project will grow to meet that goal. Yes, I said grow. While I’m all about setting realistic goals, don’t give yourself so much space that you procrastinate on getting control of your finances. Make a clear goal (pay off X credit cards this year, save $1000 for a down payment on a home, etc) and stick to it. If you’re a visual person, grab some markers and poster board from your local dollar store and create a chart. Or if you’re more of a internal motivator, plug shorter term goals and reminders into your digital calendar. Whatever your route, make it one that stays in front of you constantly.
Stack Your Money (in Your Favor)
If you’re already using your cash back card, websites like Ebates are a great way to establish multiple streams of discount/monetary rewards for buying things you already planned on buying. You can read more about how I make $1,000+/year with Ebates in this article here. Again – it’s FREE MONEY! No reason to procrastinate on this any longer!
And don’t forget about discounted gift cards! Shop through a company like Raise.com and buy discounted gift cards for things you’re already spending money on anyway – gas, groceries, clothing, the options are limitless! Click through this link to get $5 off your first $25+ purchase!
It’s time to get your finances under control and you can start TODAY. Kick the excuses to the curb and recognize that you do in fact have the power to get through this and find the financial freedom you’re so eager for.
So how about it? Are you ready to get started?
Comment below and let me know what your first step will be!
Are you hoping to earn some extra cash online but you’re not sure where to start? These days, it seems like you need some sort of “side hustle” just to get by, especially if you’re starting out on your own adventureworking from home. If you could use a little cash to help make ends meet (or if you just want a little extra to pay for the ‘little extras’), I’ve got nine money-making apps that you should know about.
Without much effort at all (beyond a trip to the Play Store, of course), you can start on the road to a fun part-time money-making gig, all the way to a full-on supplemental income. Just so you know – there are some affiliate links below, but only because I 100% support the companies I choose to endorse (this in no way impacts your investment and often times actually HELPS you with a bonus!)
Money-Making Apps: My Top 4 Choices
While all of the apps in this article are great, these were the money-making apps that got the highest overall ratings from when it came to the following categories:
Ease of Use
Rate of Purchases (or Activity) vs. Rewards
Frequency of Rewards (As well as how quickly they are issued by each app)
Without further ado, let’s take a look at these bank account boosting apps…
ShopTracker is an easy-to-use money-making app where you simply allow them access to non-personal information about your online shopping history in exchange for points. It’s operated by The Harris Poll, so believe me – it’s totally legit! It takes all of 30 seconds to install and once it’s done – you’re good to go! You’ll earn $3/month, starting RIGHT NOW if you sign up today. And that’s it – $36+/year for a minute of work!
With more people choosing to enable ad-blocking technology every year, simply choosing to view advertisements can make you money. How cool is that?? With SlideJoy, you allow the app access to your phone’s lock screen. Each time you check or unlock your phone, you’ll see a targeted ad, and each time you do, you’ll get points. You can later cash these in for rewards, or even cash them out through PayPal. I earn an average of $10 every 2 months. $60/year for doing nothing I’m not already doing? Yes please!
If you’ve been here before, you know that if you only join one of these programs – EBATES. IS. IT! Ebates gives you rewards for online purchases you’d make at over 2,000 stores you’re already shopping at anyway. In addition, Ebates can help save you a lot of money with coupon codes, special promotions, and more. It’s compatible with every device, so you’ve got no excuse not to give Ebates a try. You can read more about how I’ve earned thousands with Ebates by clicking here, or simply sign up here and get an extra $10 in your account now! Sign up and you too can earn $1,000+ year by doing nothing!
Imagine getting paid money for the things you would normally do on the web anyhow–that’s just what InboxDollars offers; they are an online loyalty club that rewards members who take surveys, try out new apps, purchase Groupons, and more. You can read more about how I’ve earned money with InboxDollars here or go ahead and sign up now by clicking here!
More Money-Making Apps: Honorable Mentions
The following are also all great money-making apps; some are just a little more specifically tailored so they don’t have quite as broad of an appeal. Don’t let that deter you, though – these are all apps I personally use to supplement my income!
If you love coupons, get ready for something even better with Ibotta, the app that offers cash-back rewards for the products that you buy the most. All you need to do is buy the specific featured product from one of many different locations, take a picture of your receipt, and you’re on your way to cash! My one hang-up with Ibotta is that they don’t really fit well with all the shopping I do at Aldi. Still, I’ve managed to make $50+ this year thus far, so I can’t complain too much!
Do you have a closet, garage, or storage unit that’s packed to the gills? It’s time to download LetGo, an app that lets you simply snap a picture of the item you want to sell, type in a description, and puts it up for sale so you can find an interested buyer in your area. It’s like classified ads or Craigslist, but much better, because you can rate and review sellers and you can communicate directly through the app so no personal information is exchanged. It’s a great way to make some money decluttering your own life while also (hopefully) finding some much-needed stuff for yourself at a discount!
Achievement is based around a fascinating concept: it is an app for people who want to commit to healthier lifestyle choices, such as eating healthier and exercising more. Users can answer survey questions and track their fitness, and will then receive points they can redeem for cash! Sign up for Achievement now (it’s FREE!)
In the same vein as our previous entry, StepBet is a walking-oriented app that communicates with FitBit, S Health, or Google Fit technology. By setting goals for yourself, you can win cash rewards when you meet or exceed progressively harder challenges. I’ve lost weight using similar apps before (like HealthyWage!) I mean seriously – is there anything better than being PAID to LOSE WEIGHT?? I did a StepBet last month and I “only” won like $13 but it definitely motivated me to stay active and goodness knows staying active is key to avoiding pricey medical bills! And if I did that consistently, I’d be looking at $100+/year!
What if there was a reliable, steady second job that you could qualify for within days? Becoming an Uber driver is one of the simplest career choices you can make, but it’s also surprisingly fun and lucrative. If you’ve got a driving record and a car that meet’s Uber’s requirements, it’s easy to get started and you could be well on your way to making $50 today!
Most Important Takeaways
A few years ago, the idea of making money online might have seemed a little far-fetched; thankfully, it’s now a reality. No matter the level of time commitment you’re able to put in or how your schedule may vary, you can still get great cash rewards for your opinions, a willingness to check out different websites and advertisements, or even your ability to drive a car!
By shopping a little smarter (and saving certain purchases until they can earn you a maximized rebate), you can start using your smartphone to your advantage. These nine apps are simple enough for anyone to sign up with and start making some cash ASAP! Try any of them out, and we know you’ll be surprised how quickly you can start earning some pretty impressive cash rewards.
Every month, I make money with affiliate marketing and since quitting my 9-5 to be a work-at-home mom, it’s become an even more important part of my overall business plan. If you have a blog, you too should be using affiliate marketing as a way to bolster your overall profits.
You’ve probably noticed many of my posts include a disclaimer regarding affiliate marketing and today’s post is no different – the links within may be affiliate links, which means if you click through to make an investment, I receive commission at no additional cost to you.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is exactly as it appears within my disclaimer – it’s an opportunity for you to promote products or services in exchange for commission or part of the sale. You can promote these products or services through sponsored posts, ad images directly on your site, or links within content of your own creation.
When you join an affiliate program, you get a tracking link that’s completely unique to you which you’ll then put on your website. When a reader clicks through to make a purchase, you’ll earn money!
Now it of course sounds a lot easier than it actually is, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today – exactly how to make it easier on yourself to get those readers to click through and to generate nearly-passive income.
Affiliate Marketing Program Options
First, there’s the pay per lead option (PPL). Certain affiliate programs will pay you for a referred visitor, whether or not they make a monetary investment. An example here would be Share-A-Sale, an affiliate platform which pays should I refer people to use it, regardless of whether or not they actually end up using the affiliate links.
Then there’s the pay per sale option (PPS), which is of course much more common. This is when someone makes a purchase through your link and you then receive commission or part of the sale in return. An example here would be referring people to sign up for Amazon Prime.
Read the ToS
Speaking of Amazon and any other affiliate company you work with, you really want to make sure you read over their Terms of Service prior to beginning any sort of promotion. I say “speaking of Amazon” because they are understandably one of the more strict companies in terms of how you can promote. For example, with Amazon, you cannot promote directly via Pinterest or any social media platforms, for that matter. If they shut down your account for a violation, you’ll lose any and all profits.
Along those same lines, you also want to make sure you stay compliant with the Federal Trade Commission’s law on disclosure; basically you cannot put out an affiliate link without first making sure your readers know it’s an affiliate link. Hence my disclaimers being obvious and always before any links.
Mind Your Links
Lastly, in terms of rules and guidelines, make sure your affiliate links are “no-follow” so that you keep Google happy.
“Follow” links are ones often used within things like guest posts to benefit the site to which you’re linking and help them in terms of SEO. It’s essentially you supporting them on your website and saying they’re a trustworthy domain worthy of showing up in search results, which will then result in the “Google bot” following that link to that next site. So “no-follow” links are links within your post that do not directly benefit that which you’re linking to and will prevent a site crawler from leaving your page to go to theirs.
Google doesn’t like it if you’re getting paid, or potentially getting paid, and also benefiting the site that pays you. That would basically be like getting paid to say a site is trustworthy and that could get real icky, real quick.
Get Started with Affiliate Marketing
How do I decide who to become an affiliate for?
First, think about the products and services you’re always telling your friends and family about. Even if they don’t necessarily seem like they’d relate to your blog, make note of them.
Then take a look at which of your posts see the most traffic – are there already products or services in there that could be affiliate links? If not, could there be?
As you grow in your affiliate marketing journey, you’ll find it becomes easier to come up with products and services you love that you in turn want to share with your audience.
Along those lines, when working in affiliate marketing, whether you’ve been doing it for years or didn’t even know what it was prior to this article, you’ll only want to recommend products and services that you genuinely stand behind. For example, I actually had a hosting site reach out to me a few months, asking me to be an affiliate for them. Now I don’t host with them nor had I heard good things about them, but they DO pay really well and I can see how that’s a draw for some. Don’t be a part of that some. Don’t let the potential profits outweigh your morals; it’ll only damage you and your reputation in the long run.
And if you’re trying to figure out where to find companies to be affiliates for, check out ShareASale – they’re my go-to resource for almost every affiliate I’m a part of!
Another great company to check out (especially for bloggers) is Ultimate Bundles. If you’ve never heard of them, definitely take a peak at my Ultimate Bundles Review!
I’m an affiliate – Now What?
Download this free worksheet and keep a list of the affiliate programs you participate in. You’ll want to track the company name, the products/services offered, unique links given to you, and any extra special rules (i.e. no social media posts)
Get your links placed –
The first step is to post links within already-created posts. As I mentioned earlier, take a look at your most popular posts and see if you’re already recommending products or services that you could be an affiliate marketer for. Not sure how to find out? Simply go to Google and type in “(product/service) affiliate” – 90% of the programs I’m a part of were found by doing that.
Next, create a gift guide. Now maybe you think that wouldn’t be applicable for your niche, but you’d be surprised! Pick out a quality of your readers (or you yourself) and create a holiday-related gift guide based on that. Examples would be “Top 10 Perfect Christmas Gifts for the Graphic Designer in Your Life” or “5 Unique Gift Ideas for Bloggers” or “8 Fun Gifts for Dog-Lovers!” Check out my Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Dad for an example!
Affiliate Posting Ideas
Use social media! Don’t put out affiliate links every single day, but if you’re sharing an article that contains an affiliate link, it would be wise of you to first post the article and then a few hours later, share the direct affiliate link. Stand behind the products and services you love, just don’t overdo it!
Lastly, write a review of what happened before/after using the product or service. Personally, I *LOVE* Tailwind as a blogger – like seriously not sure how I’d function without it. So of course I wrote a review of it and shared not only how it shaved 10 hours/week off my marketing time, but I included my referral link, which gives my readers a free month but also benefits me in terms of commission.
As I wrote earlier, I know it’s one of those “simple but not easy” sort of things. Affiliate marketing is NOT a get rich quick scheme nor does it work for everyone in terms of generating a decent return on (time) invested, but it can net you some extra cash, particularly if you’re seeking financial freedom or simply want to work from home.
Hey, Moms! So we’ve talked before about how to make money as a stay-at-home parent, but have you ever wanted to take it a step further? Have you ever wanted to launch your own company, but the thought of balancing it all as a mompreneur seems rather…well…insane? Good news! Today we’ve got a guest post from the ever-so-wonderful Emma Bates of Kids, Cash, and Chaos to talk to us about exactly how she does it (and how you can do it, too!)
So You Want to Be a Mompreneur!
Making the decision to start your own business is a big one. I am a firm believer that anyone with a “passion” and a “why” can start their own business. Moms (and parents in general) have the best “why” of all: to stay home with their children!
Starting your own business can seem overwhelming but is actually a great way to control your time, workload and income. There are so many different types of businesses you can start, a completely online business like a blog, create a craft product, watch children, or become a virtual assistant.
Why is passion important?
You could start any type of business you can imagine but if you don’t have passion it will fail. Why? Because you will find any excuse to avoid working!
Passion is what will make you work at nap time and after the kids go to bed. It will push you to complete a project when the rest of your family is playing outside or watching a movie together. Passion is not only wanting your business to succeed but a need to do what it takes to get there.
If you need some help figuring out what you are passionate about ask yourself four questions.
What am I good at?
What do I enjoy doing?
What do others ask me for advice about?
What makes me happy?
Take some time to make a list of a few answers to each question and see where you have overlaps. The final piece you have to consider is what kind of business will fit in with your family’s life. Figure out when you will have consistent time to work and how each type of business will fit in with that.
I encourage you to write down what you are working for with this business. Sit down with a paper and pencil or make a poster or vision board, something that you can read over and over again. Write down a list of reasons or a paragraph about how this business could improve your life.
You might talk about your spouse or children, how you will feel when you are a business owner, who this business might help or what the money you earn will mean for your family. Take your time on this and really think about what owning your own business will mean for you.
Find a place to post this where you will see it everyday. On your bathroom mirror, on your fridge, or above your desk. This will keep your reasons in your mind all the time and help you focus on what is important about this work.
You have figured out what you are passionate about and why starting your own business matters so now what? How do you actually go about getting this business off the ground?
You will need to create a brand. This includes choosing a name, creating a moodboard and logo, figuring out who your customer is and how you can reach them. You will need to set aside a block of time to plan all this out. Try to find a few kid free hours when you are rested and ready to focus.
Start a bullet journal for your business. Start brainstorming about your business. Create a customer profile page with information about who will buy your product or service. Keep track of resources and connections.
It is so helpful to have all this information in one place that is easy to grab and take with you. I find myself having ideas in the strangest places and love being able to pull out my bullet journal and make a note on the appropriate page.
What if you need help?
There are so many resources out there with information about starting a business. When I started my first business I was totally overwhelmed with the amount there was to do and how I was supposed to figure it all out.
I started my blog to try to help make this an easier process for other mothers. I felt there should be one resource that would walk you through all the steps of starting a business so I created Mompreneur in the Making, an ecourse on branding, creating a website and marketing.
It walks you through all the steps you will need to take to create a business from scratch. I have tried to make it easy to follow with each step broken down into simple to digest pieces. There are written sections and videos that walk you through learning how to create graphics, logos and a website.
Because I know that there are always unexpected questions and sometimes you need a little pep talk students get access to a private Facebook group. I will be posting weekly videos with extra tutorials and information. Anyone can ask questions and present their work for feedback.
I want to offer Thrifty Guardian readers a special coupon for Mompreneur in the Making. If you purchase the course before midnight on February 1st and use coupon code THRIFTY you will get $50 off the price!
Don’t miss out this amazing opportunity, my wonderful thrifty readers! Emma has got some phenomenal material prepared for you, so don’t miss out!
If you could run any sort of online business, what would YOU build?