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2017 was a big year for my family and, to a larger extent, a big year for ME. I called it the Year of Jaymi, and I spent the year finding the best ways to relax, to indulge, and to carve out time for myself. I bullet journaled, I drank fancy coffee, I went on trips with my friends, and I took on two side jobs that helped me to put my unique talents to work in a way that brought more joy to my life. And it was AMAZING.
And also? It was busy. Really, really busy.
So how did I fit those extra jobs, side hustles, and self-care into my slam-packed, childcare and housework filled days? It took planning and mindfulness on a daily basis, but I found that “having it all” was easier than I thought once I started my day off with a fresh routine. And the best part is? You can do it, too. Here’s my tips for starting your day with a BANG. Continue reading “Starting Your Day Like A #MomBoss”→
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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!
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!
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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!
For a glorious, glamourous, and tiring six months, Abram had a very successful stint as a baby model. It was fun and exciting for me, and Abram? Well, he had no idea the whole thing was even happening, but he made a LOT of money in the process. We learned so much along the way, and even though we chose to walk away from the opportunity eventually (read our reasons why here), I’m so glad we went for it. We actually spent a lot of great one-on-one time together at castings and on the job, padding out his college savings account pretty nicely in the process. So if you’ve got one of those super cute babies, and people are always telling you your child should be a model, why not give it a shot? If you’re serious about getting your baby into the modeling industry, here is what you need to know before you begin.
For 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. But I’m sure they’ll forgive me… Someday.
Want to see if becoming a baby model is a good fit for your family? Interested in getting your child started in the modeling industry? We don’t blame you. We were, too! We’ve got a great tutorial with lots of tips to get you started the right way!
You might have seen those ads floating around Facebook by now. “This company will pay you $300 to unplug for an hour!” They’re talking about a program called OhmConnect, and those ads are (almost) right.
For the past year and a half, we have been participating in a power savings program that helps us save BIG money on our electric bills. So much, in fact, that we have only paid one electric bill this month out of pocket. Our checks from this energy saving program have handled the rest. So if you’re asking yourself, “does OhmConnect really work?” and wondering it’s worth the effort- the answer is yes, yes, and more yes.
There’s something I need to tell you. Mostly because I don’t want us to get too far into…whatever THIS is (don’t worry, you don’t need to DTR with me ?) and feel like I duped you. Because if I DON’T tell you, one day you’ll be reading and go, wait a minute, this chick is trying to sell me something!
I’m not. I swear.
BUT, like so many good stay at home Mom’s before me, one day I decided that I needed something, ANYTHING to fill the void and make me feel like I was contributing monetarily to my household. Sure, I had my micro hustles, but I was going to go down the rabbit hole and, you know what I’m going to say, right? “Own my own business!”
Half of you just groaned and rolled your eyes and the other half just gave me a mompreneur fist pump in the air and remembered that you needed to post something inspirational on your businesses Facebook page. Let me save you some time. Here, use this:
Where were we? Ah yes, you’re on PINS AND NEEDLES waiting to find out what I hock! Is it skincare? Nah, my friend Jennifer is our local R&F Goddess Superstar. Am I going to sell you some buttery soft goodness? Nope, I can hardly keep my house together without storing inventory! I WISH I could tell you I had a beautifully Younique face, but I am terrible about keeping up appearances (but I have a gal for that too!) It’s not candles or oils or cleaning products – oh my!
No, I sell bags. Purses. Totes. Thermals. Home organization. Yes, I’m a bona fide bag lady, or as we prefer to be called, an “Independent Consultant” with Thirty One Gifts.
Truth be told? My girlfriends all loved the stuff and the consultant we normally bought from was moving away. Rather than keep buying from her, I figured, hey, I could sell this stuff to my friends! PLUS, I’ll get a discount on all the stuff I want! So, badabing badaboom – bought the start up kit and here we are!
Do I still love the stuff? I really, truly do. And I use it a lot. So if I post pictures of me schlepping all my kids to the beach and you think, wait a minute, she’s trying to advertise her shit! No, I really take eleventy different 31 bags to the beach. A picture of my kid throwing a tantrum with what appears to be a conveniently located pile of 31 in the corner? Nah, I probably just haven’t put it away since my last party – much to my husband’s annoyance I’m sure. And once in a while, we’re going to do posts where we recommend products. What do Jaymi and I use for our bullet journal organization? What do we use for busy bags? What all do we take on car trips? And sometimes – not all the time – but SOMETIMES, it’s gonna be 31 stuff. Because, honest to God that’s what we really use.
Plus, YOU can benefit from my side gig friends! Because just yesterday I bought a couple things for some upcoming giveaways, so stay tuned! If you love Thirty One we’ll have a chance for you to get your hands on some more. If you’ve never tried it, well here’s a shot to win some for free!
So if you see something you love, sure I can help you get it. I can help you find a local consultant near you. You can say, that’s cool, I also sell Thirty One sistah! You can tell me I suck and share your idea of a better product or solution. All totally cool with me. Well, except telling me I suck. That would bum me out a bit, but you do you.
So there’s the truth. I’m a complete and total Mommy cliché. And now with a blog. Wearing a shirt that says “Naptime is My Happy Hour” as I type this. But you know what? I freaking love every bit of it.
When I first quit my job to stay home with my little miss, I was determined to do everything I could to maintain our quality of life for my family. And since dining out is basically our favorite pastime, I was desperate to find a way to make it happen on a drastically reduced budget.
Enter the Mystery Shopping experience, in which you visit restaurants (among other places), get reimbursed for your meal, and sometimes get paid a little something on top of it.
Now, mystery/secret shopping has gotten kind of a bad rap in the last few years because of a nasty scam where the jerks of the world posed as a mystery shopping company, wrote people huge checks, apologized for the error, and asked people to wire the extra money back to them. And, since most people are honest and kind, they did, and then they were royally screwed. So, good people of the world, do not do that. No one should be getting any of your account information, pretty much ever. But I think you probably all know that already, so let’s agree to use common sense and move on.
Your next step is finding a company to pair with. There are a few tricks to make sure the company is legit. First, NEVER PAY THEM. If anyone asks you for money, A.) Don’t give them any and B.) Don’t sign up for with them. Legit companies will be paying you, not the other way around. Secondly, the company should be registered with the MSPA, the legit-mystery-shopping association.
Thirdly, and this is just my own personal advice, don’t sign up with a company that requires your social security number upfront. If you start making decent money off it (anything over $400/year; I gave it up before I ever came even close to that amount), it may be required for tax purposes, but by then you should have enough experience with the company to know that they are legitimate. A company may ask for this information upfront and still be legit, so the fact that they’re asking isn’t necessarily a red flag. But personally, I would rather not have that kind of information in too many places. It’s a decision you’re gonna have to make for yourself.
Once you choose a company (I used isecretshop.com which compiles shops from several different MSPA companies, or you can choose one from the list of companies the Penny Hoarder has deemed most trustworthy), you’ll be able to see mystery shopping opportunities and claim a shop or two for yourself (procedures vary between companies). Once you’re assigned, it’s time to carry out your task. You might visit a restaurant and record the timing of everything, from when you’re seated to the appearance of the food via cell photos. Or you may make a phone call to a company on a recorded line for quality control purposes. Maybe you’ll visit a store and take photos of their bathrooms so the company can ensure they are being kept clean at all times. The nature of the tasks can vary widely, from easy to intensive, so make sure you know what you’re in for before taking it on.
Just like the type of shops, payment can be all over the place. Sometimes you’ll find a job with no required purchase and a decent payout (my last mystery shop paid me $25 for an hour of my time, from home). Other times, you will only be reimbursed for a portion of your meal, and you’ll typically need to front the cash (For example, you accept a shop with a $10 reimbursement. You spend $14, which you pay out of pocket, and in a few weeks you receive a payment for $10. You’re out $4 overall, but hey, that’s a pretty good discount on your meal, so it’s a win). It makes sense to run the numbers ahead of time to make sure you’ll come out ahead, or at least understand what you’ll be receiving in return.
You’d need to hustle HARD on this one to make any kind of financial gains, but sometimes that’s not what we’re after. Sometimes it’s nice to have a little hobby that pays for itself, or to go out to dinner on someone else’s dime. I dabble in mystery shopping now and again, especially if it’s a place I already enjoy going to or an easy over-the-phone shop, but it’s a fair amount of work for the payout, so I try to choose my shops wisely, and I suggest you do the same.
So, what do you think? Do you feel ready to get your ninja-fix, one secret shop at a time?
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.
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.
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.