Make Credit Cards Work For You

Make Credit Cards Work For You

Many financial gurus will tell you to avoid credit cards, even those that offer incentives. I totally get where they’re coming from, BUT credit cards can be a great way to help you actually get OUT of debt!

How to Use Credit Cards to Get Out of Debt

use credit cards wisely

Disclosure: The links in this post contain referral links. I may receive a small bonus at no cost to you if you sign up through my link. My affiliations in no way affect my suggestions or recommendations

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. This is especially true when it comes to making credit work FOR you instead of AGAINST you.

What Credit Cards Are Best

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 you get DOUBLE all the cash back you earn in the first year!

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 Rewards Visa Card might be a better option for you. Both offer a $50 sign-up bonus if you sign up via the links I just provided!

Once you’ve got a great card that provides cash back, charge every bill that you can and then pay the card off IMMEDIATELY.



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 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.

An Example of How to Use Credit Wisely

Let’s say you have an Rewards Visa Card and you use it each month to pay for the following bills and purchases:

  • Pet food/supplies, diapers, toilet paper, dry groceries – all Amazon purchases: $200
  • Gas/Transportation: $100
  • Trash Collection: $20
  • Electric: $100
  • Groceries in-store: $400
  • Car insurance: $70
  • TV (hopefully just Netflix/Hulu and not cable!): $15

Provided these are all in your budget as they should be, you will earn nearly $20 on expenses you had to pay anyway! So in this example, you’re basically getting trash service for FREE this month!

Depending on how you use it, you could be looking at hundreds of dollars back in your pocket for the year!

AND if you use it in conjunction with online shopping discount relays like Rakuten (what used to be Ebates), you can earn even MORE money back.

Bonus tips

Use the credit card to buy discounted gift cards from for things like gas and wherever you tend to shop!

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.

Take Action

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. Be honest on if 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.

What is your credit card situation like?

Do you use them to your advantage or avoid them all together?




How to Find Extra Income Ideas

How to Find Extra Income Ideas

Finding legit ways to make extra money can be tricky, but it’s important if you’re on a mission to get out of debt. That’s why today we’re going to go over the extra income ideas I used to pay down $10,000 in two months!

How to Find Extra Income Ideas

extra income ideas work from home

Disclosure: The links in this post contain referral links and I may receive a small bonus at no cost to you if you sign up through my link. My affiliations in no way affect my suggestions or recommendations.

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 do I!

Making Money Over the Lunch Hour

If you can write, should be your go-to site to generate extra money quickly and easily. You provide a short writing sample, then they’ll evaluate it and rate it. From there, you’ll earn based on the 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.

Infobarrel is another great website for passive income. You write articles on literally anything you want, submit them for approval, and then you self-promote to get traffic to your articles. These articles then generate ad revenue, which is split between you and Infobarrel.

It’s not going to make you rich, but once the articles are written, they become totally passive income. I’ve made about $50 from the seven articles I’ve written and I haven’t even had a chance to write or promote anything since December. That means for the three-ish hours I spent on those few articles, I’ve made $50+. There are people on there making thousands through constant writing and promotion, and you can easily do that, too.

Get Paid to Lose Weight

Are you planning to lose a few pounds any time soon? Check out DietBet! DietBet provides amazing motivation by holding you accountable for your weight loss. There are three different ways to play, depending on where you’re at with your weight loss goals. Thus far I’ve completed “lose 4% in 4 weeks”. I also plan to try for a bigger goal (10% in 6 months) very soon!

I’ve only won $34 from the two games I’ve played but still – $34 for something I wanted/needed to do anyway! Not too shabby!

I’ve also heard good things about but I have not yet personally tried it out.

*Update* – I’ve since tried out HealthyWage and I won $1,600 in December after losing 70lbs, and I’ve already got a guest post up from someone who won nearly $700 after dropping 50lbs!! Check out this HealthyWage review!

Freelance has recently become one of my favorite ways to earn extra income. I keep the site open and if I hear the “ping”, I jump on it! 15 minutes later and I’m $10 richer! 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 a post on building additional income streams, but these are a few of my favorites. Just from working online, I’ve managed to make nearly $3,000 this year.

Now I’d like to know – do you rely on side income to make ends meet?

If you don’t yet work to develop any side income, why not? What’s stopping you?

Building Additional Income Streams: How I Made $2,168.47 Working From Home

Building Additional Income Streams: How I Made $2,168.47 Working From Home

Look for “passive income” or “make money from home” and you’ll be inundated with get rich quick schemes and work from home scams. Don’t fall for it! There are ways to build additional income streams and none of them should cost you money upfront.

As someone who has to spend over 60% of her take home pay on daycare, finding ways to make extra money from home is extremely important.

(Update: I’ve since quit my job to run my blog from home full time!!!!)

Disclosures: The links in this post may contain referral links through which I may receive some sort of compensation. This in no way affects your use of the company. This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. I believe in honesty of relationship, opinion, and identity. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own. I only endorse products or services that I believe are worthy of such an endorsement.

Building Additional Income Streams

If you’re like me, you have no time waste. Literally. You brush your teeth while combing your son’s hair and you pack lunches while putting on your pants. Thank goodness for automated coffee pots. With not a second to spare, you want to make sure that whatever additional income you bring in is actually worth your time.

First, you need to evaluate when and how you’ll be working to build this extra income. If you want something to do while you’re just watching TV for a couple hours each night, then earning $4/hour from Amazon MTurk will leave you with $8 more than you’d have if you’d only watched TV.

$8 is great. $8 is hopefully more than you spend on TV each month. But $8 is still only $8.

As someone who is constantly multitasking (I swear, I even do it in my dreams!) I need to make more than $8 to consider something worth my time.

extra income ideas

Survey Sites That Actually Pay

There are many different sites available through which you can earn money by completing surveys but I’ll be honest – 95% of them are a huge waste of your time. SurveySavvy is by far the best survey site, making me on average over $15/hour, and I love it so much I wrote a whole separate article about them – check out the SurveySavvy review! (Oct. 2016 Update: My latest check was for over $200!!)

InboxDollars is also great because they offer you a multitude of ways to make money online that don’t necessarily require a lot of time or effort. If you’ve read my InboxDollars Review, you know you can make at least $50 in less than one hour. Beyond that, you can also make money by clipping and using their coupons, doing online searches, completing surveys, and more!

Write for Textbroker

If you can write fairly well, you need to apply for Textbroker. You will fill out some basic information and then provide a short writing sample. Do not make the same mistake I did – give them your best work! Within a few days, you will receive a grade of 2-5 stars on your sample; the real money begins at the 4 star mark, though there is still some earning potential at the 3 star level. If you receive less than a 4, you will be reevaluated after 5 submissions and your rating will be adjusted accordingly. I typically average about $15-$20 per article and have made nearly $800 in the last three months. You can read more about how I’ve made over $1,400 from Textbroker in this Textbroker review..


Whether you’re looking to turn freelancing into your full-time gig or you just need a little extra spending money, sign up for Upwork. Not only can you search for jobs that fit what you’re looking for, you may also be offered random opportunities that fit your schedule. I once made $25 in 20 minutes by doing some voice work. I have zero experience in it, but was offered the opportunity by a company doing vocal research.

Do you have a unique talent to showcase? Fiverr is another great site to market your skills and/or products. Whether it’s graphic design, social media marketing, or a physical product, Fiverr is definitely a great way to make money and is also a great platform to buy from

Write for Infobarrel

Do you like to write but don’t necessarily want to start your own blog? Check out Infobarrel! Unlike many other article sites, Infobarrel gives you 75% of the revenue generated by the ads on your page. I’ve done 8 articles thus far and had only earned about $10, but last month one of my articles went viral and I managed to make $28. Not bad considering I did nothing last month to earn it!

Get Paid to Lose Weight

Are you planning to lose a few pounds any time soon? Check out DietBet! DietBet provides amazing motivation by holding you accountable for your weight loss. There are three different ways to play, depending on where you’re at with your weight loss goals. Thus far I’ve done lose 4% in 4 weeks, but I plan to try for a bigger goal (10% in 6 months) very soon!

I’ve only won $34 from the two games I’ve played but still – $34 for something I wanted/needed to do anyway! Not too shabby!

I’ve also heard good things about but I have not yet personally tried it out.

*Update* – I’ve since tried out HealthyWage and I won $1,600 in December after losing 70lbs, and I’ve already got a guest post up from someone who won nearly $700 after dropping 50lbs!! Check out this HealthyWage review!

Do Closed Captioning Work is an online transcription and captioning company. If you can type quickly, I recommend applying. You won’t make a ton of money unless you’re a professional transcriptionist who uses a stenotype. I can type about 98 wpm and I’ve never made more than $7 per working hour with Rev. With that said, though, I very much enjoy the work and that can make all the difference. Thus far I’ve made enough to pay for my Netflix/Hulu subscriptions for the year!

Save Money Shopping Online

If you  have not yet signed up for Rakuten, please do so now. Like right this second. Not that I want you to stop reading but I can’t tell you how much I regret having not done so myself sooner, especially with how much shopping I do online. Since August of 2015, I have earned $2,608.12 just from my shopping trips.

If you’re unfamiliar, Rakuten is now the new name for Ebates.

Insiders tip: You can use Rakuten even for things you need TODAY! How? By going through Rakuten to purchase things for in-store pickup. We do this a lot when we need things from Lowes – not only do we get a percentage back from our Lowes purchase but the shopping trip went from an hour long ordeal to a five minute stop!

Check out how to earn even more with Rakuten for more insight into how I’ve made over $1,000!

Proof of payment rakuten ebates


Hold a garage sale or sell via Facebook Resale Groups! After I spent a couple days thoroughly decluttering my house, I was able to list and resell a lot of my stuff for a whopping $680 and I still have more to sell! I plan to hold a garage sale this summer to sell whatever is left. My garage sales are typically fairly successful and I often make upwards of $500.


What is your favorite way to make extra money?

Are you a saver or a spender?



Is instaGC as Instant as Implied?

Is instaGC as Instant as Implied?

Is InstaGC worth my time or just another scam survey site? Let’s discuss…

As you hopefully already know, I wrote about how to make money via InboxDollars. In just about an hour, I made over $50 with minimal effort. $50 might not be much, but to me it’s this month’s internet bill. Recently, though, I came across a site promising instant money. INSTANT money? I have to see it to believe it…

Disclosure: The links in this post may contain affiliate links through which I can receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

I decided to try out instaGC today, this site that will supposedly provide instant money in the form of gift cards. When I originally signed up, I’ll be in honest in that I never did anything beyond that initial sign-up as it seemed intimidating and I wasn’t sure it’d be worth it.

Once I dove into it, though, it turned out to be quite worth it!

Here’s the breakdown of my first actual experience with it:

InstaGC Surveys

I do enjoy the fact that these surveys seem to at least give you a preview into what they’re looking for. Little annoys me more than spending 15 minutes on a “pre-survey” only to find out I don’t qualify and have wasted my time. After just under 15 minutes, I made $7. Okay so maybe it’s not INSTANT money, but that’s a pretty nice figure for just 15 minutes. Of the four surveys I attempted, I only failed to qualify for one. Compared to other survey companies I’ve dealt with, this is fantastic. I’m usually lucky to qualify for one out of four, not the other way around!

InstaGC Videos a Waste of Time

Watching the videos definitely isn’t worth it (looking at maybe 1 cent for every 20 minutes – yikes!) but if you’re bored and just surfing around anyway, then checking these out might work for you.

I also checked out the Facebook subcategory and completed 6 offers for a total of .08 cents in about 30 seconds. That doesn’t sound like much but if I could do that consistently, it’d be nearly $10/hour.

I toyed around with some of the other avenues (including creating this review post) and there’s definite potential with this site.

InstaGC Review – Referrals

Once you get the hang of InstaGC, it’s time to start referring your friends! You’ll get .10/referral and 10% of their earnings. This is a great way to add to the growing pot of pennies without any extra work on your part.

InstaGC Review – Is it Legit? Or a Scam?

InstaGC Review

What it all boils down to is figuring out exactly what’s worth the time versus what to skip.

I would certainly recommend at least signing up for instaGC and checking it out for yourself. The ticker on the side of the site seems to offer further insight into what’s working for the general population and what’s not. Also, make sure you “like” them on Facebook so you don’t miss the bonus points they offer quite frequently!

Like I said, it may not be instant money, but I can see some decent earning potential and the best part – you can do it in your pajamas while your kids eat breakfast!

Have you tried out instaGC before? What are your thoughts?