Friday, December 18, 2009

A New Road to Take

It has been quite a while since I updated this. Several things have happened.

*I no longer do 'paid to click' sites. They simply are not worth my time. Too many of them are not legitimate. So you wont even get anything for it in the end!

*I am still doing InboxDollars and SendEarnings. I havent gotten anything from either of them recently. But I am getting closer. I trust those two, so when I have finally clicked on enough emails, I will be getting checks in the mail.

* I am still doing Mypoints as well. Im not sure that I talked about this one at all. You earn points for reading emails, taking surveys, shopping, things like that. Then you can redeem the points for various gift cards. I am almost to getting my first gift card. It has been easy - and I cant wait!

* I just joined Pinecone research. I havent done anything with them. But I know that they are legit because a good friend is involved. I will be looking forward to getting checks from there as well - even if it is only $6 or so a month. It is still something!

*I know that I meant to talk about my trivets, but Idont think I ever got around to it. My sister and I have tried doing two different craft shows now. Neither one went very well. We havent given up all hope on selling the things that we have, but we have realized that people want things that are cheap - they dont want to pay for quality. So making much money off of a craft fair is unrealistic.

* Jim and I talk constantly about the future. What our plans are, what our goals are. We want to have kids. But we have always agreed that we want to raise our own children and still have a comfortable life. I plan on going to pharmacy school starting next fall. It is a 4 year program. So our original time line of things like kids will change, but it will be worth it when I make enough money that Jim doesnt have to work.

* In short, my dreams and goals havent changed much. But my approach to them has changed. It is hard work and takes a lot of time for very little pay to do anything on the internet. I like having steady income, knowing that my bills are paid. I will continue a few things - because I enjoy them and they dont take much of my time. I will also continue with Google Adsense because it is passive. I am only doing the things I would be doing anyway.

I am not at all disappointed with the things that I tried. I now know what I need to do. For me. We are still a work in progress. But the progress is in the right direction and that is enough for me.

Dont be surprised if there arent any further updates to this blog. I will, however, keep it up just in case anyone is curious about any of the things I have listed.

Thanks to everyone who has helped me - either with ideas or feedback - it has been very helpful to me in coming to where I am now.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Not Always As It Appears

On Saturday, I got an email from MyLot. It asked me to fill out a W-9 before my earning from last month would be released.

Everything in the email appeared to be legitimate to me. I was still hesitant, though. They would have my full name - which they obviously already knew because they used it in the email! - along with my address and social security number. MyLot has proven to be a trustworthy site. As long as they were the ones receiving the information, I didnt mind supplying it. I just wanted to make sure.

I sent a message to a friend on myLot. She lives in Italy, so I wasnt sure if she would know anything about it or not. She didn't and had never seen any discussions about it. So she asked another friend of hers who is an American. They had never heard of it either!

So then a discussion was started. It was labeled as a possible scam for phishing. There were tons and tons of responses. There were a few people who said that they had filled out W-9's for myLot previously. Most of the people said they were 100% certain it was a scam.

They were wrong. I contacted myLot through its site. I quickly got a response indicating that it was indeed legitimate. They were requesting the form because of my earnings. In order to send out a 1099 if my earnings are over $600, they need the information! Because my earnings were just over $115, it will be easy for me to reach the $600 mark this year.

I wasn't too worried at first. However, as soon as I started reading some of the other responses to the discussion and started getting worried. Did someone have access to my information? Did they know my passwords? What exactly was going on!

Im glad that I didnt jump to conclusions. I dont regret asking for advice and finding out that it was legitimate - I still dont want my information in the wrong hands! However, I do feel bad for all of the rumors that have started because of a legitimate request! Hopefully I can avoid that in the future

I am relieved that everything is well. And I should be getting my $115 soon!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Since I wrote about my job situation last month, I have had a lot of time to think. I am thrilled with the way things are turning out.

I have a week left at this job. I do not have another job lined up yet. I am not at all worried about it! I will be filing for unemployment. I also learned that I will probably be able to continue to work some hours doing security - which I have been doing regularly for the last year. With these 2 things combined, my income will not change! We wont be cash strapped and we wont be dipping hardcore into our savings.

That said, we will probably be able to save more! I will no longer be driving 35 miles each way to work. That will save tons of money on gas. My car insurance will drop significantly because I wont be driving nearly as much. In fact, I expect I will get a refund for the current premium and the next one will be less! Those 2 things alone will make a huge difference.

I am expecting another payment from myLot in the next few days. It isnt nearly as much as I had hoped at one time, but I stopped doing as many tasks a little over halfway through the month. I havent earned a lot this month, but I know that the earnings will only continue to increase. Without a job, I can spend more time working on tasks to make a decent amount of money there.

I have also been working on a project to make money by selling goods. I will post more on that later - hopefully soon!

So, there is the potential to have more money coming in than I do working full time! That is exciting to me, I never would have expected that!

The other thing that I will be concentrating on is the money going out. With more time at home, I will have more time to prepare meals. I plan to keep track of how much I am spending on different things. I want to reduce the money we spend on food. Not because we have to, but because it is always nice to have that extra money. I was just recently introduced to 2 websites that I think will be a huge help. $5 Dinners and A Year of Slow Cooking. I have found some great recipes and tips on both websites. I am excited to try them out!

I also think that it will help me with my weight and health goals. They have really been pushed to the wayside lately. I want to change that. Having time to focus on me will be a huge help!

Of course, I also have plans to get a lot of things done around the house. We have started to accumulate junk. That needs to go. There is some yard work that desperately needs done. There are some things that I need to get done around Mom's house as well. This will give me a chance to do those things.

Although I was some what nervous and very frustrated at first, Im not anymore. What originally seemed like a failure, a roadblock, is now a great opportunity. I know that things will turn out fantastically because opportunities allow us to make changes. I am going to make the changes that make my life turn out the best way possible.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Paid: Inbox Dollars

I got home yesterday expecting to get a paycheck in the mail from my part time job. (I did find that!) What I didnt expect was a check from Inbox Dollars.

In May, I had requested payment. Inbox Dollars pays all of their members via check. I assume it is to help keep the fraud down. They also require a waiting period before the checks are mailed. Because I requested my check in May, the waiting period wasthe month of June. At the beginning of July, the checks were printed and mailed.

I got mine yesterday. The total was $30.36. Not a lot of money - but I will take anything I can get!

One of the benefits of having gotten your first payment is a 'Gold Membership'. It doesnt cost you anything - you get it automatically for having recieved your first payment. When people sign up for Inbox Dollars without listing a referrer, they are randomly assigned to a Gold Member. My earnings could increase with each of those members - all for doing nothing extra!

So far, I have only $3.30 towards my next payment. But I will get there again. And when I do, I will have another check for my efforts!

Check it out for yourself here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


No matter how often I plan things or how hard I try to plan them perfectly, things dont always go the way I plan. I forget that too often.

A coworker asked me this morning if I had talked to my boss. I looked at him a bit funny and said 'no'. Apparently she has been wanting to talk to me for several days. That was the first I had heard about it. I knew that M was frustrated. I assumed it was because of the computer issues so that I wasnt able to get any work done. Now, I really have no clue!

I know that I am frustrated. Communication with my boss is currently nonexistant. The way she says anything to me, I interpret as an attack. I do not believe that is what she means, but that is certainly how it comes across to me.

I am afraid of approaching her at all. I feel as though when I talk, she doesnt listen to me at all. Just the other day, she had asked me to do something. I was asking a question for clarification because it was something I had never done before. Before I finished asking the question, she gave an answer to the question she assumed I was asking. But in the end, it didnt answer my question at all! I had to ask 5 times before I actually got the answer I was looking for - and it was a simple question with a simple answer.

I definitely have a lot of stress from work. I have been doing well to leave it at work and stay relatively non-stressed at home. But as soon as I walk into the building, there is definitely stress. At the time when I know that my boss arrives, there is definitely more stress.

However, I did have intentions of hopefully working here until we have kids. The pay is good. The benefits are good. The problem is that I dont have job security because I am a temporary employee.

There are definitely benefits to staying here, as I was planning. But there are also definitely benefits to finding a different job. Of course that entirely depends on if I can find another job.

I am excited because Jim and I have reached a savings goal. I am excited because there are many things that seem to be going my way as far as making money is concerned. Both online and offline. (The offline stuff I havent talked about yet, but look for a post soon!) I know that the savings are for when things happen - because things will happen. I just really dont want to have to touch that.

I am going to end this with a few things that I am thankful for, no matter how this all turns out.
*My car should be paid off next month.
*Jim's tuition is fully paid.
*I will still have some work (my part time security job) regardless of my status at my full time job.
*We will probably be able to get by without touching savings, even if we cant add to it.

Sometimes things dont go as planned only to end up better! We shall see what actually happens.

Edit: I have almost exactly 1 month left. That gives me a month to find a new job and figure out exactly what is going on. If nothing else, I will finally have time to finish the things around the house that need done! I doubt I am done crying because of the things that were said by my boss. I will never forgive her for the way she treats me, but in one month that wont matter anymore. I am very much relieved in a lot of ways.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Failure: BlastBux

A little while ago, I was so excited about my first online payment. Read about it here.

Today, Im not so excited about BlastBux. It has been about 1 week since I have been able to log into BlastBux. In fact, logging in isnt really the problem! The website just doesnt seem to exist anymore. When you try to get to the website, it takes you to what looks like a search engine results page.

I think that BlastBux is officially dead. Thanks for the $0.16, but I was hoping for more!

I have learned a few things from this.

Paid to Click sites come and go faster than you can say 'new!'. Sometimes you will be able to get a few cents or maybe even a few dollars from them. Other times, you time will be completely wasted. This makes me completely hesitant to sign up for any new sites.

Things arent always what they seem. Something can seem absolutely amazing and then disappear off the face of the planet.

I will not get rich off of Paid to Click sites. I may not even make enough money to make it worth my effort! However, I am not yet ready to come to that conclusion, especially based off of only one site! There are other sites out there that seem far more trustworthy. I will stick with those for a while and then make my decisions about PTC's.

Thanks for the good times BlastBux, I am sorry to see you go!

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Bit of Earning and Helping Others

On Friday, I got a somewhat unexpected Email. The title: myLot just sent you $56.72 USD with PayPal. It was only a somewhat unexpected Email, because I didnt actually expect it until today. They promise payment by the 15th of each month. Instead, I got it on the 12th!

I was super excited for this particular payment, because it is only my 2nd payment from my online earning ventures. But I am even more excited because my earnings so far this month exceed that. If I did nothing else for the rest of the month, I would still get $92.54. Of course, I will continue to do things on that site - so I am hoping for more than $150!

For all of you that like writing, I have gotten a majority of that from writing 4 short paragraphs about various different things. I usually look up info and put together the paragraphs pretty easily. Each on pays $2 and usually takes me about 20 minutes. $6/hr isnt a lot of money, but it definitely adds up for something I can do from my couch! Even when those tasks arent available, I contribute to discussions and earn a few cents here and there to add to the earnings, that way I get something every day!

A few days prior, I had read about something called Kiva. It is an organization that allows the average person to lend money to people who are trying to establish themselves financially. Most of the recipients are from third world countries. They take the loans to fund a business so that they can support themselves.

There were several things that I really liked about this website.
1. The money is loaned to the individuals, not handed to them. They are expected to repay within a given time frame.
2. The group that I chose to help is comprised of many people. The agreement that they signed states that if one person is delinquent, the rest of the group will pick up their slack.
3. The money you give is in increments of $25. That is an amount that I can give
4. The money you give via the website is a loan. Granted, you will not earn anything from that money. But when the loan is repaid, you get your initial investment back in its entirety!
5. After you get your money back, you can then keep it for yourself, donate it to Kiva to cover their administrative costs, or loan it to someone else!
6. You get to pick who the money goes to. You can see what they will use it for, how many people are involved, the term of the loan, and even the delinquency rate of the group!

It will be several months until that $25 is free for my use again. But when it is, I can loan it out again. And then again. And again. So with only $25 ever invested, I will be able to help countless people!

I just think it is pretty cool that I am on a quest to support my family when I have kids and in doing so, I am able to help someone else have the means to support their family. I cant promise I will do this every month, but it is definitely pretty awesome to be able to help someone else with so little sacrifice on my part!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

PTC: LinkGrand

One of the PTC sites I quickly signed up for was LinkGrand.

There were a few things I quickly noticed about LinkGrand. You can view new ads and old ads. Even after you have clicked on them, you can view them again. You wont get credit for viewing them more than once, but there is nothing stopping you from going and getting the information again. That seemed promising - something that would make people actually want to advertise there.

There are lots of ads. Lots and lots and lots of them. I think I have clicked on at least 10 everyday. I logged in last night and there were over 20 available!

Having lots of ads is great, but each ad doesnt pay very much. At only $0.003 each, it takes a while to build up any money. The minimum to cashout is $5. In the couple of weeks that I have been clicking on ads on this site, I have earned $0.543. So it is going to take me a while to reach the cashout, but I will take an extra $5 anyday!

Like most PTC's, there is a minimum amount of time you have to view the ad in order to earn for it. There is a timer at the top of the page, and then a button to push in order to get paid for it. I learned quickly that the timer doesnt continue if you have LinkGrand open in one tab and are doing something on another tab. However, if you have a completely seperate window open, the timer will continue to tick away. (Before doing this, I do always check out the ad. Sometimes I am just not interested!)

Definitely a way to earn money slowly, but I have no reason to doubt this site! Many others have said that it is a good one. Check it out for yourself.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

Savings is something that I have always been acutely aware of. I am just not comfortable without a safety net to fall back into! I very much agree with the experts that you should have at least 6 months worth of income saved up. That way if something happens, you arent completely up shit creek without a paddle.

Of course there is also the mantra 'you have to have money to make money'. I dont necessarily agree with it 100%. You can make money without having any to start. Afterall, everyone has to start somewhere! But having a bit of money can definitely help you make money faster.

One of the things I do with the money that Jim and I have in savings is open CD's. The CD rates almost always are higher than regular savings rates. Higher interest rates = more money in my pocket!

Unfortunately, one of the downsides to the economy being bad, this isnt true at the moment. With ING, you can get 1.5% with savings or a CD! That is TERRIBLE! It wasnt long ago that I was getting CD's at 5%. Now that I have hit one of my monetary goals on my 101 in 1001 list, Im pretty frustrated that our money wont be earning much for us!

We havent gotten to the 6 month mark yet. But we are definitely getting there. $10,000 is a good place to start. We have been there before, but had to use some of it to replace the windows. Hopefully nothing like that will come up this time. I really like knowing that money is there.

Just one step closer to being ready, financially, for a baby!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Weekend of Practice

Jim and I had Buddy and Jordan for the weekend. Buddy will be 4 in August. Jordan is just over 5 months. We were brave enough to take them to the zoo on Saturday and then kept them overnight. It was a good weekend, but completely exhausting!

Read all about it here.

PTC: Clixsense

Clixsense is a PTC (paid to click). I have only been on this site for about 2 weeks. So far, I am really liking it! It definitely seems to be reliable.

The ads you view usually pay $0.01 each. I have seen a few that pay $0.02. Once, I even had one that paid $0.05! That isnt a lot of money - but that reassures me that it is legitimate!

There is no 'minimum' number of ads. You simply have to check to see if there are any ads available. However, I have not had any problems with this. The first day, there were just over 30 ads that I could click on. Since then, there have been at least a couple every day.

The ads seem to be updated at various times. When I have a few minutes of time, I will check the site. Sometimes there is an ad or two that I havent clicked. Sometime there is nothing new. Either way, it only takes a couple of seconds to check.

There is one other feature on the site that I really like. It is called 'clixgrid' It is 12x12 grid. A standard member can click on 20 blocks each day. You could potentially earn anywhere from $0.01 to $5.00 from the block. I just discovered, so I have only done it a couple of times. So far, I havent gotten anything from it. If you dont earn anything, there is an ad instead. I never bother to look at the ads, so this is a quick process for me.

This is another site that you wont get rich off of. But I click on these ads as I am doing other things, so I feel like I am not wasting my time on the internet! I am currently up to $0.91. The minimum payout is $10. This is a site that you do not need a paypal account for! Each time you reach $10, a check will be mailed to you by the 10th of the following month.

The one downside I could find is the $3 processing fee for each check. You can change the amount of the check so that you dont have to lose 30% of your earnings, but then you get paid less freqently.

Check it out!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Not Always About the Money

If there is one thing that I have learned in my life while trying to be frugal: It isnt always about the money! The money doesnt have to be the end result of everything. The cheapest price isnt always the right choice. So I have taken that and applied it to my online endeavors.

I continue my blog on Xanga, even though it isnt making a lot of money for me. I have developed some amazing friends on there. I wouldnt give them up for anything! They bring me things that money cant.

Another great thing that I have discovered about the internet is you dont have to do anything without being rewarded! How many web searches does the average person do each day or each week? I know that I do far less than most people, and I still tend to do at least one per day!

A few months ago, I was informed about a new (to me) search engine. It is called Swagbucks. You go there to do your searches just like you would use any other search engine. The only difference is that they sometimes give you a 'swagbuck' or two.

The swagbucks can then be used to get various prizes. You can get books and electronics. Trading cards or video games. There is even a program to get airline miles for your frequent flyer program. Right now they are running a special on the $5 Amazon gift card - only 45 swagbucks. That way you can get anything you want!

I am saving up to get some Xbox live points for Jim. He uses them to download add-ons to different games. This is something that we use anyway - and normally pay for. Why not get them for free?

I will admit that this is not the best search engine out there. I would say that 95% of the time I get what I am looking for. Occasionally, I have to head over to Google.

So far, Jim and I have accumulated 92 swagbucks for doing the things we would normally be doing anyway! So we will ultimately save money just by doing the same things. Cant get much better than that!

Search & Win

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Failure: Paidmailz

The last few days I have really been working on beefing up my PTC sites. I know that they all take a while to earn anything on. I figure if I keep clicking on all of them, I might get a decent sum one of these months!

I am always getting the names of different sites from various people. Unfortunately, I dont always know these people so I just have to have blind trust. That has officially bitten me in the butt for the first time!

Yesterday, I signed up for Paidmailz. Almost immediately after, the computer started acting goofy. There was an 'antivirus software' that it kept trying to get me to download. I couldnt close that 'trial' program. Before long, there was a huge warning replacing the picture on the desktop. Not long after, I couldnt do anything with the computer!

(Thankfully it is not my home computer. It will be fixed and everything will be ok.)

This is my warning: Dont go to the paidmailz website! (I wont link it so that you dont accidently click on it.) Im dont know anything else about it. I dont know if others have had this problem or not. Im not willing to risk it again when there are so many other good options out there!

Monday, June 1, 2009

MyLot Payout

The month of May is officially over. My total earnings for May totalled $56.72. I should be paid by the 15th of June!

Even more exciting is that I already have $16 in earnings for the month of June! The tasks are really paying out!

I can really forsee myLot paying me close to $100 each month. It takes a little bit of effort. Not too bad from the comfort of my own couch though!

Jim has made an agreement with me. We will both come up with half of the money towards the new camera we want. It shouldnt take me long at this rate on myLot! That may not help me in my desire be pay off debt before we have kids. But it will definitely make us both happy. I am doing far better than I ever dreamed on myLot so I think it is worth the camera reward!

Friday, May 29, 2009

PTC: Hits4Pay

As I mentioned before, my PTC search began with Hits4Pay.

So far, I think this is probably my favorite of the PTC sites. There are so many things that just make it seem more likely to be legitimate than the other PTC's I have come across.

The minimum cashout for this site is $25. So they wont let you come click on 10 ads and then take your money. This makes it seem more legitimate because they get to hold onto the money so much longer! Some people will never reach the $25 mark, so they will never have to be paid. For others, it will take quite a while to reach the payout. That means the owners of the site get to hold onto the money and earn interest on it. Less than $25 wont earn much interest. However, if 1000 people(or more!) all have less than $25, it begins to make a bit of a difference.

The nice part, though, is that you get a $10 sign up bonus. So you really only have to earn $15 from clicking ads before you get your first payment. This doesnt sound fishy at all to me. In fact, it is a great marketing scheme. Lure people in with a $10 bonus. They will click on ads for a little while and then never come back. The site earns the money from those clicks and never has to pay it out!

I have noticed that the number of ads varies from day to day. The most ads I have gotten in 1 day was 12. The least I have gotten was 5. At $0.02 per ad, that is a minimum of $0.10 per day. At that rate, it will take a while to get to a payout. But I think that it will actually pay when you get there!

In order to get credit for each of the ads, you have to stay on the page for at least 60 seconds. This is not a problem at all! I usually surf these ads while I am doing other things. I will glance through the ad and then switch to a different window to type an email or check on some blogs. When I think of it again, I switch back to the ad. The yellow box at the top of the page has usually appeared. I click on it and am credited my $0.02! So even though this can take several minutes, you can still multi-task and do it.

As with all of the PTC sites, one of the best ways to increase your earnings quickly is to get other people to join the site also! At Hits4Pay, you earn $0.01 for every ad clicked by someone you refer. You earn the same amount for all of the people they refer as well! So you can earn for first level and second level referrals.

Have 2 friends that want to sign up? Make it the most beneficial for all of you. Have one friend sign up under you. Have the second friend sign up under the first friend. That way everyone earns a little more!

I dont think that I will ever cashout often from this site. But I like that it seems so reliable - and I do know someone else who has been paid by it. For only a little bit of effort and time, I will take the extra money! What would you do with an extra $25?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My First Payment!

I really wasnt expecting this at all!

I signed up with a PTC site called BlastBux. I am not even sure how I first came across it. I signed up. I clicked. It asked if I wanted to cashout my first day's earnings. I said yes.

That was yesterday. This afternoon I got an email from paypal saying that I had received the payment! If I knew how to do a screen capture to show you, I would! The details are $0.16 received after only 1 day!

I dont know a lot about BlastBux yet, as I havent had much of a chance to really explore it. Here are the details I do know:

*For each ad you click, you earn $0.02.
*There is no minimum for your first cashout. That is how I cashed out at $.016
*My next cashout minimum is $3.
*For every person you refer, you earn $0.015.

The most important detail though is that they have paid me for only a couple of minutes of my time.

Go check it out. You can get your first payment in no time as well!

What the heck is a PTC!?!

I hadnt been on myLot long when I started seeing three letters all over the place - PTC. It seemed like everyone else was a part of something I knew nothing about!

I quickly learned that 'PTC' meant Paid To Click. There are sites out there that are offering you money just to click on some ads! Surfing through the internet, you have to look at ads constantly. Why not get paid for it?

I saw about a million different names for sites. I didnt know where to start! I finally came across a discussion about a specific PTC site. I asked the original poster a question - and she actually responded! I began asking her several questions about the different sites and what it was all about.

She first referred me to Hits4Pay. She said it was one of the best ones for her. It is not a scam - because there are many out there that will never pay! It also pays higher than some of the other sites out there. I signed up, but I had a lot more learning to do!

After looking at many, many PTC sites there were a few things that made spotting the scams easy.

There are some sites that are promising as much as $10 for each click of an ad! There is no advertiser that would ever pay enough money for each person to get paid $10 just for looking at an ad. It just wont happen!

There are some sites that pay literally fractions of a penny for each click. There are other sites that pay up to $0.02 for each click. I have not yet found a legitimate site that pays more than that.

The PTC's are free to join. I have not come across any that will charge you for your membership. I would never join one that did!

Most of the sites have more than one level of membership. For the free membership, you will get some ads and earn some money. For the upgraded membership, you are usually promised more ads and more money. (I have not yet upgraded any memberships.)

One of the ways to make more money on the PTC's is to have referrals. Get your friends and family to sign up. When they click ads, they earn money and so do you! The amount you earn on referrals varies from site to site. There are also some sites that limit the number of referrals you can have.

Since most people are looking for referrals to make more money on the PTC's, many of the sites will allow you to rent them. For a small charge each month (which can come directly from your earnings, so there is no money out of pocket), you can have a referral for the month. You will earn based on their activity. I havent yet tried this. If the referrals are active, it can be a great way to increase your earnings. I am somewhat hesitant to take a risk with the earnings, though.

One of the things I like so far about the PTC's is that there is a limited amount of time you can spend on them each day. Once you have clicked the ads, there is nothing left to do! That is good for me because I can waste hours and hours on the internet!

I will be posting about each site seperately and give my thoughts. So look for those to come! (Or if this has been posted for a while, click on the 'PTC' tag to check out what I have written!)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Failure: Shutterstock

I knew it was only a matter of time. Everything that I have tried online couldnt possibly work out!

I had come across an article from MSN called 10 Creative Ways to Earn Extra Money. One of the suggestions on there was to put your photos on ShutterStock. Well, they said to put your photos on stock agencies like shutterstock.

Jim and I love playing with our camera. We have tons of pictures. Once you load them, there is nothing else to do. Just wait for someone to download the pictures. This sounded perfect!

It took me a little while to actually ask Jim what he thought. Afterall, they are our photos. I finally asked him at the end of last week. He thought it sounded like a great idea. We would earn $0.25 cents for each picture downloaded. But there was definitely some possibility there because who knows how many times each photo would be downloaded?

I signed up. You have to first submit 10 photos. If at least 7 of those photos are approved, your membership is accepted. I went through our photos and picked some of our favorites. I uploaded them, labeled them, and tagged them. Last night they were all submitted. I was confident that I would hear back in a few days that 7 or 8 were accepted.

I logged into my email this morning and found I was dead wrong! I was a bit peeved. First, the email telling me I was rejected was sent at 4:36am. Funny, because the website says they dont work during that hour. Then I scrolled down in the email to see the comments. Not. One. Photo. was accepted. Some of the comments annoyed me. They were generic. "Photo wasnt in focus or wasnt what we thought it should have focused on." Really, because there was nothing else in the photo and it was perfectly in focus! Oh and the "poor or uneven lighting" of the natural bridge? Well um, it was a natural bridge over a canyon. Everything was clearly detailed. What were you looking for? Ok, now that I am done my rant about that. No Im not still bitter...

In the end, I didnt spend much time on this. We took the pictures anyway. It didnt take long to upload them or label them. We love the pictures. We have gotten compliments on them from others. So I would have to say that it just wasnt what they were looking for. I could try again in 30 days. I dont think I will bother.

ShutterStock: Failure.

Feel free to give it a try, but be warned that they are brutal! If you can get your photos accepted, the possibility to earn some passive income is definitely there!

Asking for Help and Joining MyLot

I had finally started. I had more than one thing going. I was all amped up and ready to do more. But I didnt know what! So I finally got smart... and asked for help!

One of the blogs I follow on xanga is a girl named Jess. (Great blog. Fun person. Go check her out!) She is a mom of 3 kids. She is not currently married. She is able to stay home with her kids, though! I knew that she was earning money online to help support herself and her children. I just didnt know how she was doing it. So I asked her. She gave me a couple of different ideas. The one that seemed the easies to start out with is the one I went for first.

I signed up at a site called myLot. I had no idea what it was all about or exactly how it worked. Jess had told me that you get paid to start discussions and contribute to others discussions. It doesnt have to be anything fancy or even exciting. That is exactly what I found!

There are over 170,000 members. There are literally hundreds of new discussions started everyday in all kinds of categories!

The first day I signed up, I started looking around and trying to figure it out. I contributed to several discussions. I still wasnt totally sure about everything, but it seemed easy. The next day I learned that I had earned $0.25. Not a lot of money, but still something! It was far more than I was earning with Adsense!

I quickly learned a few things that would help my earnings on myLot.
*Give thorough responses to discussions. The better your response, the more likely you are to get paid and get paid well. There is no guarantee for getting paid just because you typed something. So make it worth your time!
*Become familiar with the guidelines. You wont earn anything for responses to posts that are in violation. If you start a discussion that is in violation of the guidelines, it will get deleted and you wont earn anything. There are often discussions in violation of the guidelines - usually advertising or posting earnings from myLot.
*The rating system is your friend. If you give good answers, you are far more likely to get positive ratings. The rating system goes from 1 to 10. The higher you are rated, the more money you will make.

I also learned something else very quickly. You will not get rich by posting on this site! I think the most I earned in a day was just over $2. I spent a lot of time on myLot that day.

After a couple of weeks, I finally discovered 'tasks'. I had seen the tab on the page and had checked it out. But there was never anything there. Through several discussions, I learned more about them. I still dont know everything there is to know, but I dont think I ever will!

The tasks are a variety of things that someone asks you to do. They pay a set amount of money.

I have seen tasks asking for something to be posted on Craigs List. (I am not sure of all of the CL regulations, so I stay away from that!)

I have seen tasks that ask you to write several paragraphs about keywords. I completed one of those. The keywords were things about Norwegian Cruises. The whole thing took me about 10 minutes. I earned $2.

The majority of the tasks that I have completed are doing a search on either google or yahoo. You then check the links. If they meet the requirements (which are simple), you copy the link. Then find an email for the link. I have done over 40 of these tasks. They usually take somewhere between 1-5 minutes, depending on how many of the links meet the requirements. Each of those tasks paid me $0.20.

Tasks is really a much better way to earn money on myLot. $0.20 isnt much for 5 minutes of your time. But that payout is much better than what you could earn in the same amount of time posting to discussions!

The minimum payout for myLot is $10. They pay once each month to a paypal account. This is my first month on myLot, so I have not yet gotten paid. As of this posting, I have almost $30. It is easy and generally enjoyable. I see myself sticking around myLot for quite a while.

One of the best things about myLot is you can spend as much or as little time as you have each day! This was definitely a good way to start out. Check it out for yourself!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Finding More

I didnt really begin an active search to find ways that others were earning money online. I knew there had to be something, but I didnt even know where to begin. So I let it go. I was only looking for some extra money, so it really wasnt a big deal.

Then I came across a blog of someone who was sharing all about her frugal ways of living. She talked about the inexpensive projects she was doing with her kids. She also talked about what she was doing to earn money online. She mentioned Inbox Dollars.

I had no idea what that was, so I did a quick search. I quickly came to the Inbox Dollars home page. I really liked what I saw. $0.02 for each email wasnt much, but it was definitely something easy that I could do! They said they typically send 2-3 emails each day. That would only take a minute of my time. I could definitely build money that way! They also promised a $5 sign up bonus. I do like free money!

After I signed up, I realized there was so much more. I could take surveys and earn $0.50 for each one completed. They had tons of offers from which I could earn money. Many of them didnt cost me a thing! I was sold.

The minimum payout was $30, but I was confident I could make that in a month!

I signed up in March of this year. I didnt make $30 in a month. But I have already requested my first check.

I have done several surveys. $0.50 isnt very much for my time considering some of the surveys take about 20-30 minutes. I usually use my 'relax' time to do this. Some of the surveys can actually be quite enjoyable. Those $0.50 surveys did add up towards my $30 payout.

I also completed a couple of offers. Some of the free ones didnt take much time but paid me $0.25 or $0.50. I am the kind of person who picks up pennies when I see them on the ground. I very strongly believe that every little bit matters. So each of those offers helped!

I also completed 2 seperate offers, for which I had to pay something. The first one I completed was for Vista Print. I have been wanted return address labels for quite some time, I just hadnt gotten any. I already knew about Vista Print because Jim had ordered some business cards through them, so I expected good quality and knew they were reliable. When I saw that I could get return address labels for the cost of shipping, I knew this would be my best opportunity! In the end, I got $5 for ordering the return address labels. I only had to pay $3.41. I actually earned a profit from getting something I wanted anyway!

The other offer I completed was for the Entertainment Book. I tend to get one every year because we use enough of the coupons to more than pay for the book. Well, it is halfway through the entertainment book's year. They were probably trying to clear out some stock, so there was an offer. For $15 and free shipping you could get a book. There was also a $9 reward for buying the book. That put my cost of the book at $6. There is one coupon in there that we will use that will save us $17. I also know of several other coupons we will definitely use. This offer was also definitely worth it!

With Inbox Dollars, I was beginning to understand how earning money online was possible.

You, too, can sign up with Inbox Dollars and earn money. You dont ever have to pay for any offers if you choose not to. You can slowly build earnings with emails. Or you can also complete surveys and find offers that appeal to you. There is also the option to earn money for playing games. I havent done that because I refuse to pay to play games! If you have any questions about Inbox Dollars please feel free to ask. If you are interested in joining, click the banner below.

The Beginnings of Online Earning

I have a lot of downtime at my job. A LOT. There was a time when I would have 5 hours of down time everyday! So I turned to the internet to keep me entertained while I had to be there.

I had started a blog while I was in college. Well, I guess that isnt really fair. I had registered with two different blog sites. I never really did much blogging. Last summer, I started to spend more and more time on Xanga. Somehow, I managed to become a blogger. I wouldnt necessarily say that I am a good blogger. Even now, I may not be very good at it. But here I am!

I began to make my blogging niche at I spent hours each day there. I would write about various things. Sometimes it was what was happening in my life. Other times it was something that irked me. You really never know what will come out on my blog!

Xanga has this credits program. You get credits for leaving comments on other blogs. You get credits for others leaving comments on your blog. You can also earn credits by posting certain widgets or taking surveys and completing offers. Those credits can then be used for various things. You can leave minis for others - which are little pictures in the comments that are just letting them know there was something special about the blog. You can use them to promote your blog. You can also use them to upgrade your blog to premium. With premium comes the ability to have more pictures. You can also then choose if you want ads on your blog. If you choose to have ads, you get to use your own Adsense code to earn money!

At first, I upgraded membership to get rid of the ads and be able to have more photos. After a while, I decided to give Adsense a try. I put the ads on my blog. No one seemed to mind that they were there. They didnt really bother me. So I let it stay that way.

It took 2 or 3 days for me to earn a penny or two. I was seriously considering taking the ads off. What was the point? It would take forever to get anything that way. Then someone clicked an ad for the first time. My earnings probably jumped about 25 cents. It still wasnt much, but it gave me hope that maybe I would eventually be able to get a payout from it. I thought it might be worth it to get that money eventually. So I decided to let it stay, permenantly!

That was the beginning. The wheels in my head started to turn. I had heard others talk about how they were earning money online. I knew of at least 2 moms through Xanga that were using the internet to earn money to support their family. Orginally, I thought they were earning enough money through adsense. I realized after I signed up that there was no way that many people were clicking on links. I knew there had to be something more, but I didnt know what.

I was on a mission to find out!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Looking Towards the Future

There are only a few things I haven't touched on about our financial situation. The most important one is savings.

I have always been a saver. As part of the budget we live on, we put money into savings each month. I have it automatically transfered into ING. This is the best savings account I have found. Although interest rates are low nationally right now, it still has some of the best rates for savings and CD's. Because we dont have a lot of money in savings, this is definitely our best option. (ING also offers a bonus for opening an account. If you are referred by someone and open the account with at least $250, you can get a $25 bonus added to your account! If you are interested, let me know and I can get you a link.)

The other important thing that Jim and I take advantage of is retirement savings. Being young, it isnt something most people think about. But it is one of the most important things you can do! Time is even more important than rate of return when you want your money to grow. Jim and I both put in enough to get the maximum matching contributions from our employers. There is no better rate of return than that!

Each time we get a raise, we raise the amount of money we put into retirement. This year, Jim will be getting a 2% raise. We will up his contribution to retirement by 1%. That way we still see more money in his paychecks, but we are also putting more away for our future. It is a really painless way to save for the future! (I didnt think of that on my own. It is something my Dad taught me. I told you I have great parents!)

One of the best things that I did to help my outlook on my finances was read a book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. It really helped me to understand a lot about money. This book is the reason that I have money that is always transferred into savings and have had for a long time. One thing that he says that really rings true for me is if you dont pay yourself, no one will care. If you dont pay your bills they will remind you. You have to make sure you get paid too.

Our savings and our retirement accounts are there to help us in the future. We will have money for unexpected things. We will have money when a good deal is possible only with cash. We will keep ourselves free from worry.

In addition, we are working on paying down our debt. We have 4 years left on each of the car loans, according to the original paper work. I hope to have them both paid off within 2 years. We will probably pay off our current mortgage when we decide to sell the house and upgrade. But I hope to have a large amount of equity so that the next mortgage doesnt have to be huge.

The reason I started this blog was because I want to find a way to make money from home. Right now, we are doing ok and dont need the extra money. But I want to make sure that we have enough in the future. Any extra money we can make now can help us arrive at our goals even faster! I want to be able to set up some online earnings - or any earnings - that are at least mostly passive. That is how we will ultimately achieve all of our dreams.

In this blog, I will talk about the things I am trying. I will let you know what is working for me. I will let you know about any scams I find. I will share with you all that I can so you can do it too. I want everyone to be able to achieve my dreams of debt free living!

"Good" Debts

I cant tell you how many times I have heard people talking about "good" debt vs. "bad" debt. I think everyone agrees that things like credit cards are "bad" debt. Some will argue that student loans, a mortgage, and car loans arent "bad" debt. I will agree with that statement, but I will never refer to any debt as good debt!

My ultimate goal is to not have any debts at all. That hasnt happened yet, but we are working towards it!

I incurred my first debt when I was 20. I had lived on campus for 1 year. I studied abroad for a semester. Then, I lived in an apartment for 6 months.

I realized at that time that I was throwing money away by renting. I also hated being under someone else's control! The apartment I lived in was a piece of crap. It took 3 months for the leak in the roof to get fixed. The linoleum tiles in the bathroom were crumbing, but never replaced. I hated living like that. I hated even more being powerless to change my surroundings. Not long after I moved into the apartment, I knew that wasnt what I wanted. So I began looking for a house.

Finding a house within my budget wasnt easy. I saw a lot of houses that needed a lot of work. I saw some houses that I just laughed at. One house had a 'bedroom' that I dont think you could have even fit a crib into! I did eventually find something. With my Dad as the cosigner, I got a mortgage for my very own house at the age of 20.

The first year, I was shocked at how much money I had to put out for unexpected things! I had a roommate for the first several months. She and I had very different views about the way things should be. She had just graduated from high school and moved our of her mother's house. She liked to leave all kinds of lights on and crank up the electric heater. I, on the other hand, worked hard to keep the expenses down. It was a difficult balance.

Jim lived with me from about the beginning, even though we hadnt been dating long. He always gave me the money I needed to make sure all of the bills were paid. It was never a lot of money, so he had no problems putting in his contribution. Once I knew what to expect, things got much easier.

Two months before my college graduation, my car died. I got it to the dealership to get it looked at. I had dropped it off and while I was waiting for my sister to pick me up, I was looking at new cars. Within the next 2 days, we found out that my car needed way more work than it was worth. I talked to my Dad about cosigning a car loan for me rather than getting another POS. He agreed.

So two months before graduation, I had more debt. A car loan. ("Good" debt.) I was optimistic that I would get a decent job and have no problems paying for it and the house. Thankfully I was right.

By the time we got married, just weeks after graduation, I had a mortgage and a car loan. Jim had just managed to pay off the last of his credit cards, but also had a car loan.

Since that time, my car got totalled in an accident. I had to get a new one, which meant a new loan. I was looking at a 5 year loan with an interest rate of 5.5%. About that same time, Jim traded in his beloved Mustang on a Civic Si. All things considered, it was definitely a smart financial move for us, but we still had to get a loan. He also got a 5 year loan, but with an interest rate of 2.9%. I do love those low interest rates!

So, after Jim and I both got new cars (again), we are making headway. Each month we pay more than the minimum towards my car and the mortgage. With money that has been promised to Jim for graduation, we should be able to pay off my car this summer.

Our next goal is to get 80% equity into the house based on the purchase price. I think we may be able to get there by the end of the year. When we do get there, we will no longer have to pay private mortgage insurance. That will be an extra $50 each month that can go towards principle! I want to get this house paid off as quickly as possible!

Even though all of the debt we have now can be considered "good" debt, I am looking forward to the day when we dont have any! The less debt we have, the less money we need to earn each month. Needing less money each month will make it much easier to live off of one income when I stay home with our kids!

The Learning Process

Everyone has a unique financial journey. Most people dont like to talk about it much. They dont want to tell anyone else about their finances. I understand wanting to keep some information private. However, I think part of the problem with the economy is that people dont talk about finances so they dont teach their children either!

I was lucky that this wasnt the case for me. My parents made sure to teach me about finances from a young age. I had my first bank account when I was only 1 year old. I dont remember life without savings being important!

When I was a little bit older, my parents took most of the money from my savings account and put it into a mutual fund. This was back when people still regularly got the newspaper everyday rather than just checking the internet! My Dad taught me to read the information in the newspaper about how the mutual fund did that day. I dont think I followed it for more than a month, but I did know how if I ever wanted to check again!

I never had an allowance. I remember asking my Mom about it once. I was jealous because so many of the other kids at school talked about the allowance they got. Mom gave me an option. She would either give me an allowance or pay for my activities - like field trips and Girl Scout dues. I chose not to get an allowance because I realized that she was paying for plenty for me.

When I was old enough, about 12 or 13, I began babysitting. Mostly, I babysat for some of the neighbors down the street. It was never a lot of money and it wasnt always regular. It was a start though, I was earning my own money! I did spend some of it, but most of it made its way to the bank.

I didnt get my first 'real' job until I was 17. My Mom worked at a hospital, so she had to work every other weekend and 1 late evening each week. She couldnt work around her schedule to take me to a job, so I couldnt get one until I could get myself there. My Dad provided me with a car and paid for insurance. I was finally able to get a job!

I worked at a grocery store for the rest of my time in high school. My only expenses were gas and whatever I wanted to do! I was able to save most of my paychecks.

The summer before I started college, I babysat. I got paid $200 a week and was thrilled! I dont think I could have done better anywhere else. The timing also worked out perfectly so that I could earn as much as possible.

Through college, I had several different jobs. I babysat for 2 more summers. One of those summers I also worked at Kmart. I had two seperate on campus jobs in college. I worked in the snack shop on campus. I only stayed there for 1 semester. I also worked at the campus safety office. I worked at the desk. The job I had most of the time I was in college was working at a local bank. I worked there for 2 1/2 years total. There was only 1 semester in college that I didnt work - I did a study abroad program instead.

After college, I began working in the lab where I am today.

I worked a lot of hours while going to school. I still work a lot of hours between my two jobs. My goal never changed: no debt! I was lucky in college. I had a good scholarship and my parents paid the rest of my tuition. I worked to pay my living expenses. It wasnt always easy, but it was worth it!

Jim came from a bit of a different background. He has had jobs and worked hard his entire life. He made some choices that led to some credit card debt before I met him. When we met, he was living with his parents and working on starting to change that.

There were a few times that Jim and I were both working 80 hours a week. That way I didnt need money from him to pay expenses for the house or food and he was able to pay down his debt. That really wasnt fun!

I never had credit card debt of my own. But I learned from Jim that staying level isnt too hard. Digging out can be near impossible! I never want to have to do that again.

Within the 2 years that we were dating, Jim was able to pay off all of his credit cards. We started our marriage with only minimal debt.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

All About Me

That title sounds pretty conceited. I dont think I really am, but I couldnt come up with a better title for now!

My name is Sarah. I am 24 years old. My husband, Jim, and I make our home in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Jim is a huge part of my life. We have been married for almost 2 years - our anniversary is coming up in a week! We were together for 2 years before we got married. He first told me that I was the 'kind of girl he could fall in love with' within weeks of us dating. The look on my face must have shown my shock! A few weeks after that, Jim told me that when he said that he had already fallen in love with me! I can only imagine what my expression was that time. It didnt take long before I was completely head over heels for him as well!

Jim and I met working together at a local bank branch. I was working my way through school and Jim was working full time. The group of people that we worked with were fantastic. We all were good friends, so it was easy for me to get to know Jim. After I graduated, I left the bank for my current job. Jim is still currently employed at the bank.

I currently work in a research lab for the federal government. It isnt my dream job, but it pays pretty well. The worst part is my drive to work. I work just outside of the city limits of Philadelphia so it takes me 45min to an hour to get there. I look forward to the day that I can leave that job, but I think I will try to stay until Jim and I have kids. I say 'try' because I am not yet a permenant employee, but that will hopefully change within the next few months.

Jim has 1 month left of classes for his massage therapy schooling. Graduation is the second weekend in July. He has also done a crossfiber class that he has just finished. So far he is loving it. The possibility of a career that he enjoys and that pays much better is promising!

I have also been working a part time job doing security. This has paid for Jim's tuition. We were able to break it up into 12 equal payments with no fees and no interest. Since he only has 1 month of classes left, that means there is only 1 tuition payment left. I am quite pleased at the prospect!

I have known for quite a while that my dream is to stay home with our kids, when we have them. We agree that we would like to have kids in about 2 years. I want to be able to raise my children, but I also want to be able to contribute to our household income. In years past that would have been next to impossible. But I believe that I can do it and will find a way!

This blog will be all about my journey to my destination of stay at home mom! I cant promise it will always be pretty. Im not sure everything I do will work. I dont even know what the end result will be. But I am determined to get there!