Cheapskating, Holidays, microhustle, side hustle, Tips & Hacks

Microhustle Monday Presents: How to Earn Some Passive Cash with Ebates

This post contains affiliate links. We may make a commission if you sign up for this program after clicking the link, but as always, the thoughts and opinions described here are our own. You can read more at our Legal and Disclosures page. Thank you for supporting The Salty Mamas!

It’s that time of year again, folks- that’s right, it’s the happiest time of the year!

Welcome to ONLINE SHOPPING SEASON!

Remember the days when you had to schlep from store to store, children in tow, as you hiked and searched and ran price comparisons and did the returns and exchanges and oh-crap-I-forgot-Aunt-May?

Nope. Us Either.

We’ve been doing our holiday shopping online for YEARS. Not only can it be done while you are trapped under a sleeping baby, but you don’t have to buckle and unbuckle 1 million carseat straps in the process.

And best of all- it can earn you money.

If you haven’t heard of Ebates yet, you need to sign up, like, yesterday.  You typically earn a nice little bonus for signing up, which is perfect to get you started (As of the writing of this post, you will receive a $10 bonus after making your first $25 in purchases). After that, you just begin all your shopping trips at ebates.com or on the Ebates app. It’ll take you to the store’s website, and then you just shop like normal. After your purchase is complete, Ebates will add a percentage of your purchase back to your account (varies greatly from store to store) and you can watch the earnings pile up.

You can help your earnings add up faster by shopping on Double Cashback days, and by doing some percentage-and-price comparisons. For example, Amazon and Kohl’s may have the same KitchenAid mixer you’ve been eyeing for the same price (this is the one I just got. Isn’t it a DREAM?), but Kohl’s typically gives higher percentages back through Ebates, so it ends up being a little cheaper in the long run.

So click here to hop on this bandwagon quick so that you can maximize your earnings before the holiday season. And make sure you’re following us on Facebook! We’re expecting some good deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and you don’t want to miss out on our reminders!

The EASIEST way to earn money by shopping online. Read more about one of our favorite microhustles at thesaltymamas.com #ebates #onlineshopping #earnmoneyfromhome

 

microhustle, momlife, side hustle

MicroHustle Monday: Walk Your Way to Cash

Let’s face it. Working out is on the back burner in my life. I mean, yes, I YMCA for the free childcare and in theory when I drop them off I head straight upstairs and hop on the treadmill where I WORK IT for a full hour. But sometimes I just.need.to.sit. And read. Or bujo. Or BE without three kids climbing all over each other, refereeing fights, and doing the Mom thing.

But relaxing doesn’t help me fit into my old jeans.

Unfortunately, not fitting into my old jeans hasn’t proved to be enough of a motivator. However, I have learned, in my new fiscally-conservative role as a SAHM that money is a BIG motivator for me.

Enter: Step Bet.

Step Bet is an awesome app where you can join Step Games (challenges) and WIN MONEY! The app syncs with your activity tracker as you compete against yourself – which is my favorite part. I am completely in control of whether I win this bet or not. So you can’t get stuck with someone that is a mail carrier and takes 40k steps per day or something insane, causing you to give up immediately.

Rather, the app takes your current activity tracker data and then sets you new goals. I had been particularly lazy just before I signed up, so my goals were pretty manageable 😉 My active goal was 7,279 steps and my stretch goal was 9,579 steps.

Each Monday through Sunday I had to hit my active goal 4 times, my stretch goal 2 times and I got one rest day. I also REALLY liked this, because, let’s face it, we all deserve a rest day!

23336589_10215048225705404_374965473_o

Okay, okay, but how do you MAKE MONEY???

My Step Bet lasted 6 weeks and cost $40 to join. We had 517 players for a grand total of over TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS in the pot! (Okay, sorry, don’t get too excited, I’m not winning $20K!) BUT, if I hit my goals I DO win my $40 back AND a cut of the $40 from all the people that didn’t win! Step Bet also takes a cut (currently 12.5%) to pay for support during the game for you, game hosts and referees, so basically the money from the first few people to drop out.

You’re not going to win millions of dollars, but you’d be amazed at how motivated I’d be every time I checked to see 2 or 3 or 7 people drop out! Even if it only meant a few extra cents in my profits.

Which is why I walked and walked and walked and JUST finished my first Step Bet last night. I’m terrible at math and am waiting for the final results, but it should be around $10 profit, so I’ll be getting $50 back! (Which my husband likes to point out is a really good return on a $40 investment in only 6 weeks).   23376963_10215048225745405_750238188_o

And YAY for my $50 cash-out, but I’m tossing $40 right back in and doing it again! Because I’m still money motivated and STILL not in those jeans!

***********

For more info and to find answers to all your questions, check out the Step Bet FAQs – and be sure to let me know if you’re joining!!!

#microhustle #makemoney #SAHM #makemoneyfromhome #healthy #stepbet #fitbit #applehealth
The incredibly easy way I made $50 just by WALKING – and how you can too!

 

Cheapskating, microhustle, Tips & Hacks

OhmConnect Revisted (AKA How I Got Free Electricity All Summer)

This post contains referral links, which means that we may receive a small commission from people who sign up using the link. As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own, though your results may vary. Read more in our disclosure policy, and thank you for supporting The Salty Mamas!

Okay, so I have told you all about OhmConnect, and how residents of California and some parts of Texas can pay earn credits by saving electricity when they receive alerts that “dirty power plants” are about to turn on. You can read all about how it works here,  but Y’ALL. I just HAD to update you.

I didn’t pay for power this summer. Not a penny in June, July, August, OR September. And I keep my house at a brisk 72 degrees.

And I have OhmConnect to thank for that.

I know a few of you Salty Mamas have joined, and you may be thinking I’m a big fat liar since you are pulling in a massive 70 cent payout. I know. I hear you. It so doesn’t feel worth the sweat for 70 cents.

But as in all things MicroHustle, you gotta focus on your long game. The more Ohm Hours in a row you hit  (they call it a streak), the higher your payout is going to be. And as you level up, your amounts go up again. So if you hit Platinum level on a 60 Ohm Hour streak, you could be talking about making nine times as much each Ohm Hour as you are right now. And if you haven’t sign up already?  Head to OhmConnect now to see if you qualify.

Now is the PERFECT time to start your streak, while the weather is cooperating and the sacrifice doesn’t seem as big. And by this time next year, you may be flipping the breaker and heading out to sip some margaritas, and proposing a toast to the good people of OhmConnect.

And to the Salty Mamas of course.  Because obviously.

Looking for a way to earn extra money? Or save on your electric bill? Head to thesaltymamas.com to find out how to get your bills paid for FREE! (Sponsored)

 

Cheapskating, microhustle, side hustle

MicroHustle Monday Presents: SurveySavvy

This post contains referral links, meaning that the Salty Mamas will receive a small commission when someone signs up for SurveySavvy using our link.  As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own. We cannot guarantee that your results and outcomes will be similar to our own. Thanks for helping to support The Salty Mamas!

Ahhh, the survey. The MicroHustle many of us love to hate/hate to love.  This is probably the MicroHustle I’ve taken the most heat over in recent years, because from a short-game stand point, it just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes I spend twenty minutes on a 50 cent survey, and those numbers just don’t seem to add up.  But the survey is the tortoise of the MicroHustle Universe.  You earn money in very small increments sometimes, it’s true. But eventually, you can win whole races- and pay for whole cruises– using these little guys.

I’m going to start by introducing you to the survey site that seems to have the most potential to make big money. It’s called SurveySavvy, and it works like most survey sites do- they send you surveys, you take them, and you make a little money.  (You can also earn referral credit when someone signs up using your link, so yes, I’d like you to use mine if you’re wanting to sign up anyways 😉 ) But the reason SurveySavvy ranks number one on my list of sites is that SurveySavvy is a screening site for CSpace, a company that businesses and brands hire to conduct panels.  And that, my friends, is how you make the big bucks.

I’m not on any panels right now, but when I was, I would make about $60 a month per panel, and I was on two.  They would ask me to do things like participate in discussion groups, or visit a store and take pictures of certain sections, or post a video of me discussing why I liked (or didn’t like) their brand. It is very much like a focus group, except you participate from the comfort of your home and on your own time.  I found the activities to be kind of fun, and it was neat to see products that I had weighed in on showing up in stores a few months later. And, of course, the money wasn’t too bad.

So there you have it, my first and favorite survey site. Do you do surveys at home? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section!

*  *  *

Note: SurveySavvy also has an app, called SurveyConnect, that you can download. This app will give the company some access to your phone usage and browsing history and, for what it’s worth- I don’t use it. The idea of having someone tracking my phone just gives me the ick factor. If you don’t have the same reservations, feel free to try it out, but I can’t personally speak for, or recommend, a service I’ve never used. Just food for thought!

Want to earn a little extra money, but don't want to sell anything? Try this! thesaltymamas.com

 

Cheapskating, microhustle, side hustle, Tips & Hacks

MicroHustle Monday: Trash & Treasure

When I was growing up, every so often my Mom would hit a breaking point where we had TOO MUCH STUFF. Stuff in our rooms, stuff in the garage, stuff we did. Not. Need. We’d pick the hottest Saturday of the year, wake up at dawn and pull everything we ever owned onto the front lawn. My sister and I would post signs around the neighborhood and we’d inevitably spend the entire day sitting in the yard explaining to people that we weren’t selling our bikes that were still in the garage, but visible to all the gawkers. At the end of the day, we’d box everything up and just donate it anyway. It was such an inefficient system, but what else were you supposed to do with all your stuff?

Fast forward many years to today. And the internet. God. Bless. The internet. Because now, whenever I need to purge stuff from my house and/or need a few bucks, I take to the internet! In our house, we are pretty committed to systematically getting rid of STUFF. For instance, after my sons 4th birthday this summer, I held all of his new presents hostage until he helped us fill two boxes full of toys that he didn’t need anymore that we could give to other kids. He had some toys that were in great condition, hardly played with, that I knew another kid would love. And if I got a few extra bucks for Starbucks or a trip to Chick-Fil-A? Even better!

5 Tips for Selling Your Stuff

  1. Find a neighborhood sale site on Facebook

I’m in several “Trash and Treasure” Groups on Facebook. They may be called something else near you, but these are great buy/sell/trade sites where you can sell your stuff in a super easy virtual garage sale. It’s local so you don’t have to worry about shipping anything. You can either choose to meet at a central location or your home. Or my favorite – the porch pickup. God bless the porch pickup! I leave whatever I’m selling on the porch and the buyer drops the money in my mailbox. So easy!

  1. Take decent pictures

I want to make my items look as attractive as possible to potential buyers – but also be realistic about the item. You don’t want to think that your item sold only to have someone change their mind when they come see it. That takes more of your time – and time is money!

  1. Price to Sell

My husbands grandmother once gave us some art that she said was worth $1,000. But something is only actually WORTH what someone else is willing to pay for it. So when I want to unload, I price to SELL. I might think the item is “worth” more, I may have paid a WHOLE lot more, but if I’m not using the item and it’s just sitting in my garage or taking up space in my closet? Well that’s not making me any money either, is it? So personally, I’d rather have the item GONE with a few bucks in my pocket. So have I significantly undervalued some items? Maybe, but at least they’re not taking up space in my house anymore! Find the balance that works for you, but know that if you price to high you may not get the return you’re hoping for.

  1. Post!

You’ve found your group, picked your price, taken your pictures and now it’s time to post! Usually all you need to do is post a description of the item, plus the picture and the price, and maybe your cross-streets if you’re in a larger area where that could make a difference to potential buyers. Make sure you follow the rules of your group. For instance, some don’t allow cross-posting (attempting to sell an item in more than one group at a time) or have very specific rules of how to connect with folks interested in purchasing your items.

  1. Sit. Wait. SELL!

Remember when you used to sit in the blazing sun waiting for someone to come by and make an offer? Well now you can do that inside your house. Or at the movies. Or at Disneyland. Or wherever you want to be. Make sure you’re notifications are on and wait for a bite! Most sites have rules about how to make the sale – like accepting offers in the order they are received, no cross-posting (meaning posting the same item on multiple sale sites), no sale via PM (where you could be cutting off people that made offers through the comments). Make sure you follow the rules – you don’t want to lose out on potential sales, or worse, get banned!

Get your offer, put your loot on the porch, collect and you’re done! All you have to do is decide how you’re going to spend your new green!

Hope y’all have fun turning your trash into treasure!!

 

Micro Hustle Trash and Treasure
Bouncing Babies, Kids' Activities, side hustle

How to Get Your Child Into Modeling (If You’re Sure You Want to!)

As you may have read on our blog last week, my son Abe spent a brief but successful six months as a baby model (if you haven’t read it yet, you should head over and read it here now. There’s some disclaimers!). We learned so much along the way, and even though we chose to walk away from the opportunity eventually, I’m so glad we went for it. We actually spent a lot of great one-on-one time together as part of the process, in addition to padding out his college savings account pretty nicely. Are you eager to get your little one started in the modeling world? Keep reading to find our 10 steps for getting started.

1. Know What You’re Signing Up For.

Having a child model can be amazing, but it can also be a bit stressful. There are hoops that need to be jumped through, and appointments to be made and kept, and castings and call backs to be attended (sometimes on only an hour or two of notice). If you have more than one child, this means you’ll need to have a lot of flexible, reliable childcare options available, as only the requested child will be allowed to attend the casting or job with you. And if you work a traditional job outside of the home, be prepared to be relying on your village to get your kiddo to and from “work” on a regular basis. Agencies want you available any time, and anywhere, with not a ton of notice.

2. Consider Your Location.

You should probably live near a metropolitan area to consider modeling in any real way, as there aren’t many companies that will fly you and your kiddo out for castings, or even jobs. But even if you live near one of these areas, be prepared to spend a lot of time in the car. Like, a LOT of time in the car. I live about twenty minutes outside of LA, but I regularly drove an hour and a half or more (sometimes because of traffic, sometimes just because of distance) to get Abe to work. And it does start to get old, especially when you make that drive for an audition…and don’t get the job.

3. Take High Quality Pictures (At Home or on the Cheap!)

Don’t go shelling out the big bucks to get headshots done- at least not yet! Abe got signed after submitting pictures we obtained from a $20 Groupon to JCPenney’s, so it’s not like we went all out to be selected. You can even take great pics at home, with a few simple tips. First, use a proper camera, not a cell phone. Dress your child in bright, solid colors (no logos or busy patterns). Take photos of them outside on a sunny day, with a neutral background (think the wall of your house, a brick wall, something like that.) Leave the accessories, like headbands and even earrings, off for this one. They just want to see your child’s beautiful or handsome face without any distractions. Submit photos of them smiling alongside neutral-faced photos (no real expression).

4. Secure Some Documents

Make sure you have an original Birth Certificate for your child, as well as a Social Security card. Many jobs and some submissions even require your child to have a passport (although we never got one for Abe). These things can be obtained later, but you don’t want to miss out on any work while you’re waiting for these things to arrive!

5. Find a Reputable Agency.

This is probably the most important of all the steps. Google “Best kids modeling agencies in (Your City)” and cross-reference different articles that you find. Look them up on Yelp, and in the Better Business Bureau. If you know anyone in the industry, ask for their advice. You want to know that you are signing with a good agency from the beginning. A reputable agency will not ask you for ANY money upfront. Not even for photos, styling, etc. If they ask for any kind of money, that is a HUGE red flag and a sign to get out immediately.

6. Submit Your Child’s Pictures.

Many agencies now have websites for you to submit online, or you can mail in photos. Then cross your fingers, say a little prayer, and wait for a response!

7. Celebrate! Or Shake It off.

If your child doesn’t get accepted? Please, please, PLEASE don’t get your feelings hurt. Your child is likely every bit as adorable as you think they are. But maybe they already have enough kids on their roster that are the same “type” as your child. As in, they’ve already got too many blondes, or they are full for your child’s age range. Feel free to update your pics and try again in a couple of months, because you never know what will have changed by then.

8. Secure MORE Documents

Now that your little bitty has an agent, take any direction they give you (still don’t send any money to an agent, and drop them like a hot potato if they have a photographer they require you to work with. Obtaining headshots is reasonable, but they shouldn’t cost you hundreds upon hundreds of dollars. You’re here to make money, not spend it.)

You will need to obtain a work permit for your child (you can do it online here if you live or plan to work in California). Your child will need a savings account, which you can likely set up at any bank. And if you live in California, you will need a special account called a Coogan account that is only for children who work in the entertainment industry. By law, 15% of a child’s earnings must be held in a Coogan account until they turn 18. Many major banks, such as Bank of America, do not offer these, but many credit unions (including the one we used, First Entertainment Credit Union) do, as well as US Banks. Get these done ASAP, because you have a very high change of missing out on work without it.

9. Update Your Pictures

You need to keep your photos updated, according to your agency’s standards or once every couple of months (especially when they’re little!) You can either take high quality shots at home, or hire a pro photographer to do them. That’s between you and your agent!

When you get your pictures updated professionally, your agent will likely ask you to get a photosheet made. They are basically a collage of pictures of your child with different “looks”- standing, sitting, smiling, serious, etc. Get a few printed up, as you will be taking these to auditions with you. You might even be asked to make a resume for you child which…I can’t even. It’s too hilarious. But still, it also may necessary.

10. Work, Work, Work.

Get to those castings, submit for jobs, and- hopefully- get to work! Your child will almost certainly not get chosen for every job and that’s okay. An industry person once explained it to me like this- a company is looking for a certain look for their ad- let’s call their “type” a Red Circle. Your baby might just be a Blue Square. They may be the absolute cutest of all the Blue Squares, but they are still blue, and still square. There’s no way they can be a Red Circle, and frankly, you wouldn’t want them to be.

So update those pictures, get to your castings on time, and just wait for the day when they are looking for a Blue Square. And then, little baby, it’ll be your time to shine.

So there’s our ten steps to getting started in the modeling world. Got a question we didn’t answer? Drop a comment below and we’ll get back to you soon!

My Son Was a Model Pinterest
Baby Model, Child Model, College Fund
10 Steps to Getting Your Child or Baby Started as A Model
Bouncing Babies, Cheapskating, side hustle

MicroHustle Monday Presents: My Son Was a Model (For a Minute)

Abram Torrez HRFor one brief, shining, so-very-SoCal moment, my son was a model.

That’s right, an honest to goodness, has an agent and gets craft service, model.

And honestly? Best . MicroHustle. EVER.

It started when I submitted him casually for a job through an agency some friends of mine worked with.  We were out of town for the shoot dates, so that particular job went nowhere, but it did lead to him signing with a reputable kids’ modeling agency. We were thrilled (I mean, that’s undeniable proof that your kid IS as cute as you think they are, am I right?), but no one was more thrilled than the grandparents. To be honest, I was almost embarrassed about it (did people think I was gonna be a stage mom now? Or that I was desperate? Or vain?) and I kind of tried to keep a lid on the whole thing. But the grandparents couldn’t help but tell everyone they saw anywhere that their grandson was a model before he had so much as snapped a picture.

I’m not gonna lie, getting started was a total nightmare. The agency we worked with was great, and SO helpful, but the mountain of paperwork was unreal. He needed a copy of his birth certificate and social security card (he was only three months old, so these had to be procured ahead of schedule). He needed a work permit, and headshots, and bank accounts and a special Coogan account (so a portion of his earnings could be held in trust for when he is an adult, in accordance with California law).  But FINALLY, a few weeks later, he was ready to work.

Taking him to his first photoshoot in La Jolla was just this side of hysterical.  There was a gorgeous home, a million snacks, and a fake mommy and daddy for him to shoot with.  He had an onset “teacher” and an onset nurse who made sure his every need was attended to. He wore a freaking Burberry onesie that probably cost more than he made for shooting that day, and definitely cost more than the outfit I was wearing.  He shot for all of 15 minutes, and we were off.  It felt like the coolest little mommy-son adventure, he made some money for his college fund, and, honestly, he was none the wiser.

But by far our most lucrative “job” was for a prominent diaper company.  And since babies shoot best with their actual mommies, I got hired too. You heard me right- I am a paid model.  You can be impressed now. Okay, you may not be impressed, but I was sure impressed with myself.  The set teachers held and loved on my baby while I got full hair, makeup, and wardrobe done.  Y’all. It was basically a vacation. We once again shot for twenty minutes, I got a free Diet Coke, and we were on our way with a VERY decent paycheck in our back pocket.  I quickly decided we would be doing this forever and all time.

And then, a few months and a few jobs later, the BAD SHOOT happened. Abe was ten months old, and was supposed to crawl towards a toy with a look of joy on his face.  Except Abe was not joyful. And he would not crawl towards that toy. He wanted the camera, the lights, the lantern in the background.  He wanted to crawl fast, or stand up, or shake the toy like a polaroid picture.  Anything but what he was supposed to do. And honestly? I got PISSED.  These people were counting on him, had PAID him to be there, and he just wasn’t compliant. I turned into the anxious mom, the one who’s like, “He’s never usually like this” (Side note: he is), the one who’s like “I swear he can do it, just give him another chance.” They didn’t, and he didn’t, and I left there disappointed and even a little angry.

And that was enough for me, and so I called it. I know it was just one shoot. I know this was the opportunity of a lifetime.  I know that this was the best MicroHustle I could have hoped to find. And I still walked away.  Some parents can keep that good attitude, know that kids will be kids, and shake it off and try again next time.  THAT is who should be pursuing this. They’re in it for all the right reasons. But me? I can’t do it. And so WE couldn’t do it

Every once in a while, pictures from one of Abram’s few photoshoots will pop up on Facebook or the internet, and I get so wistful thinking of those one-on-one adventures we used to go on. And frankly, I think of the checks we used to deposit into his savings account (I mean, let’s not pretend that isn’t why we were doing it).  But then I remind myself of the monster I could quickly have become, and I come to peace with my decision.

The grandparents however? That’s a different story.

 

Read all that and still interested in getting your child started in the modeling industry? We don’t blame you. We were too! Read all about the steps to getting started here.

My Son Was a Model Pinterest 2
My Son Was a Model Pinterest
Caffeine, Cheapskating, MicroLuxuries, Tips & Hacks

Mini MicroHustle- Have You Had YOUR Break Today?

There’s a bright spot in my day lately.  A beautiful oasis in a hot, hot landscape.  The promise of refreshment, enjoyment, a tiny little break.  And this magical oasis? It is likely very near to you indeed- just under the Golden Arches.

Today’s post is spotlighting the rare combination of both a MicroHustle and a MicroLuxury. Odds are, most of you already know about the glory that is the $1 Any Size Fountain Drink campaign, a rare bird that flies in each summer to make the long, warm days more bearable.  And since there is a McDonald’s on basically every corner, and most people are able to carve out a dollar here and there, and you can get to it in a drive-thru format, it is the perhaps the most accessible and the most attainable of all of life’s little luxuries.Me, Lila, Diet Coke.And as if that wasn’t enough (which, if you’ve met me, or read my blog before, or seen my Instagram -you get the idea- you know it would be enough), McDonalds had to go and outdo themselves by making an app.  A pretty darn good app, at that. Not only does the app offer perks like mobile ordering and location finders, but they have some SICK coupons and deals.   They’ve got some of the more standard discounts, like $2 off a $10 purchase, which of course I won’t turn down. But they also regularly offer a TON of good freebies. When the Dodgers win, for example, I get a free six piece nuggets with any purchase (including those $1 fountain drinks!).  Hello, snacktime! And when the Angels win, I get a free signature sandwich with purchase of fries and a dollar coke (so basically a whole meal for $3ish). On FRYdays, you can get a free Medium fry.  And, for most of the summer, I have been able to get a free McFlurry with purchase.

You heard me right, that soft-serve Oreo goodness has been within my reach somewhat regularly for free.  So basically, I can bribe  reinforce my children’s good behavior with ice cream almost any day of the week, AND get myself a Diet Coke the size of my head, for just a buck and tax. Because dreams DO come true people (as long as your dreams are as little as mine, that is).

So if you’re as into either McDonalds or Diet Coke (etc.) as I am, do yourself a favor and download the app. Then find yourself a McDonalds with a Playplace and move on in.  WiFI, endless soda, and free ice cream? Your summer has been solved. You’re welcome.

This is so not even a sponsored post. I just love McDonald’s that much.  But, how you doin’, McDonald’s? Feel free to hit me up if you WANT to sponsor us.

 

Using the McDonald's App to Get Free Stuff
Cheapskating, side hustle

MicroHustle Monday- OhmConnect

You might have seen those ads floating around Facebook by now. “This company will pay you $300 to unplug for an hour!”

Those ads are (almost) right.

OhmConnectThe company is called OhmConnect, and anyone across the United States can sign up. The company will let you know when a so called “Dirty” power plant in your area is gearing up to turn on, and will ask to you to conserve electricity to prevent excess energy usage. If you don’t live in one of OhmConnect’s payable areas, you’ll get points for participating, which can lead to prize awards. But if you live in California, Toronto, or Texas and use one of the major power companies (PG&E, SCE, SDG&E, Toronto Hydro Electric System, or as part of Smart Meter Texas), you will get paid in cold. hard. cash. (Via PayPal.)

The beauty of this system over other power saving options is that the intervals are pretty small, usually an hour long (although it can go up to four hours, this has been pretty rare in our experience). You’ll get a text message or email letting you know that an OhmHour is coming up; if you can’t or don’t want to participate that day, you simply opt out on their website and go about business as usual. If you are able to participate, then it’s time to get to work.
Right before our OhmHour begins, I run around the house unplugging everything. The company will look at the data from the last few days about how much power you’d be expected to use during that period, and ask you to cut your usage down below your forecast. The more you reduce, the more you’ll make, and you know I can get pretty extreme. So I unplug every cable, extension cord, and surge protector. I take everything off the chargers, I take my daugher’s nightlight out of the wall, and I for sure turn off the AC, TV, and the clothes dryer. Recently, I started to turn off the power to my fridge- we do it by adjusting the temperature manually from inside the refrigerator- and we’ve started noticing a bigger payout as a result.

Now, your earnings will start small. In the beginning, we’d make something like 70 cents to a dollar by participating in each OhmHour. But since Mama loves a micro-hustle, those tiny amounts didn’t bother me at all, and they started rapidly accumulating. I began participating more and more, making a no-go in-laws rule for myself, and pretty soon I was on a “Streak” for participating in so many OhmHours in a row, which adds a multiplier to my payout. At last count, we’re on a 43 OhmHours streak, and we’re getting roughly double the money we would be getting without the streak. You can get additional benefits by “leveling up,” which means increasing your average energy savings over time.

The program, of course, is not without its challenges. I always get about 24 hours notice before an OhmEvent, while Christine gets ten minutes (and kudos to her, that’s gotta SUCK and she still makes it happen). I use traditional power, but Christine has solar panels, which means some days she’s trying to beat a negative forecast. So yeah, that’s definitely more of a challenge. You’re not gonna be pleased with this program all the time, but for me at least (and for Christine most of the time), it definitely feels worth it.

Let’s end with some facts and figures here, in case you need more persuading- on our last four OhmHours, we made $46.18, $13.49, $9, and $43.79 respectively. So far, in the first half of July, we’ve made $138.25 by participating in OhmHours, which covers our electric bill for the month and then some. It takes time to get your account to this point, but once it does- oh man, will your inner cheapskate be So.Stinking.Happy.ohmconnect screenshot

 

For more information about OhmConnect, to see if you are eligible, and to sign up, visit https://ohm.co/c1da05c. You’ll get $20 when your account is synced with your power company, and, in the interest of full disclosure, so will we. Happy saving!

 

This post is neither sponsored nor endorsed by OhmConnect. We just really love it, and think you will, too.

 

 

Cheapskating, momlife

Intro to Cheapskating

I’m not totally sure when I jumped the gap between being frugal and being a cheapskate, but here I am, living in the land of pennies and dimes. I count them, I save them, I try to help them grow into strong, confident dollars. I find ways to earn them and work hard not to spend them without long, drawn out conversations with myself and a million lists and plans in my BuJo.
But this land of Pennies and Dimes also gives me power. When I decided to give up a pretty decent income as a well-educated special education teacher, I chose to become more than a budgeter. I decided to be more than a saver, which has always sounded so passive to me, and to become a hustler. A micro-hustler, that is.

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It began with aggressive budgeting, and trying to spend as little as humanly possible. And I got good at it. Like, really good. Like, I don’t buy meat if it’s not on clearance good. But Holy Moses, that can stifle a person. I mean, a cheap month here and there is fine, but as Dave Ramsey would say, a person can’t live on beans and rice, rice and beans forever. And I wasn’t willing to take more out of our budget than I already was. So it was time to get creative.
I began to take on a series of increasingly creative side-gigs, one by one. I started using Ebates, became a mystery shopper, and joined one survey panel and then another. I found a program that paid me to save electricity, I subbed for people for pay at my daughter’s co-op preschool, and I synced up my Fitbit with an app that would pay me to do so. I recycled our bottles and cans, I rolled sleeves of pennies and dimes, and I sold some stuff-a lot of stuff- on Craigslist and Facebook.
And I’m not gonna lie, some people made fun of me. I mean, I was always hustling. But in teeny, tiny little ways. I came to think of all my little income streams as my micro-hustles, and I began to keep track of my earnings. I shrugged off the teasing, and I kept on keeping on. And as for the haters? They didn’t have much to say when I paid for an entire cruise with my girlfriends with those damn surveys and bottles and cans. Because those pennies and dimes? They WANT to be saved. They WANT to grow. I’m just helping to use those small coins to make big things happen.
So no, I’m not pulling in a full income off of these little side gigs of mine. And I’m by no-means replacing the income I gave up to be where I felt that I needed to be. But I am contributing to the household financially, and I am slowly but surely helping to make our dreams come true, the big ones and the small ones. And it’s happening one micro-hustle at a time.