Make Extra Money For The Holidays- No Matter Your Skills!

The holidays are coming, and if you are like me you may be starting to panic just a little bit. I start out each year with this big plan to save money each month and pick up little sales items throughout the year. Then November comes and I’m like, oops! If you can relate (surely I am not the only procrastinator around here!), here are some ways that you can make some extra money for those “last minute” presents.

Amazing ideas to make extra cash for the holidays!

For The Crafty Mommas…..

Oh, this is soooo the time that you start organizing and honing your craft! Plenty of people want to buy unique decorations, jewelry, or other crafts around the holidays (me!). Not only do people enjoy purchasing festive decorations for their own homes, but many like to gift one-of-a-kind items as well.

If you think you may be crafty, but are running dry on ideas check out my Pinterest board for Christmas decor. The majority of them are homemade because that is all that my budget allows for this year. All of them are super cute, but only a few of mine (hopefully, anyway) will not be Pinterest fails. A lot of people will pay to have homemade décor and gifts that are not, well, fails.

Places to sell your crafts include, but are not limited to:

  • Flea markets
  • Farmers markets
  • Facebook groups
  • Ebay
  • Etsy

Make extra money by creating homemade crafts!

For The Creative Mommas

If you enjoy writing, try freelancing or blogging. Now, let me go ahead and warn that typically it takes time to make money from writing and/or blogging. I have heard some of those wonderful stories where people start writing and their career takes off. But for most people, this is not the norm.

See if your local publications will accept submissions from freelancers, or search online for publications that pay for submissions. My first submission was accepted in less than a week! But then I froze up and have only pitched two other articles since (in two years).

As for blogging, you will need to think of how you want to monetize your blog. Do you have a service that you want to offer, such as web design or stock images? Or are you wanting to help people by sharing a part of yourself? Would you be interested in utilizing affiliate marketing to make money? You have to consider if you want to self host (which I would recommend if you want to make money. I use Bluehost.), or if you are planning on using a free platform. Like I said before, blogging can take a long time before you see any money but I had to mention it just in case you could be one of those rock stars straight out of the gate. Plus, you can always start now in order to be prepared for next year!

Make extra money with freelance writing.

 

Another interesting way to make some extra money is to take old beat up furniture, give it new life, and then sell it for more than you have invested. Think Flea Market Flip on HGTV. You can either go out and buy used furniture from flea markets or garage sales, or you can look at furniture that you have that you may not want/need anymore.

For The Not Crafty, Not Creative, But Still In Need of Extra Money Mommas….

Think outside of the box. There are plenty of ways for you to make extra money for the holidays even if you don’t fit into the categories above.

  • Are you good at wrapping presents? People like me would gladly pay for someone to wrap gifts for me. Not only do I get aggravated trying to even get the stupid tape to stick to the stupid present instead of my stupid fingers, but it looks like my toddler did the work instead of an adult woman. I mean seriously, it’s bad.
  • Babysit for people while they Christmas shop. Sometimes it can be nearly impossible to find time to shop without your kids- especially if you are a busy momma with a large family. Figure out how much money you would be willing to pay for some quiet shopping time ( and maybe a latte all by yourself, if we are going to dream) and charge that price. Just check out your local laws regarding day care services- some states have strict guidelines. There are different places to advertise, as well. I belong to several supportive mom groups on Facebook that allow for advertising posts on certain days. Many of my local stores have bulletin boards for people to advertise on, as well. And, don’t forget your friends! Word of mouth is always a great idea!
  • If you enjoy working with kids, tutor. I know, right now you are wondering what tutoring has to do with the holidays. Well, a lot of school districts have the end of the semester right before winter break. High school students, especially, may need extra help to get their grades up in order to get credit.

Extra money is always helpful for the holidays. Have you ever thought of gift wrapping for others?

Why You Should Make Extra Money (Even If You Don’t Need It)

Now that Halloween is over, and the skulls and gravestone displays are being replaced by jolly fat men and designer trees, it is a good time to begin thinking of ways to make some cash for the holidays. Even if you don’t necessarily need extra money, wouldn’t it be nice if you could have some in your wallet after the holidays?

Think about what you could do with a surplus budget after the holidays!

  • You can actually do something for yourself! I know, sometimes that seems impossible for us mommas. Or maybe it is the last thing that you would even think of doing. My husband just recently reminded me that I have not purchased any new clothing for myself lately. I am so guilty of saying that I am going shopping for me and then get sucked into a good sale at one of my favorite children’s stores. If you don’t need anything new, try a new experience! Never been to a spa? Go! Wanted to try skydiving but never had a sitter? Splurge! Yes, there is a pretty big leap from getting a facial to leaping out of a plane. But think outside of the box!
  • Do something for you and your significant other. Hire a sitter and go dancing! Or try that new comedy club that you heard great things about! Perhaps you haven’t slept without a kiddo in between you in forever. Find a sitter and take a nap!
  • Throw it on some debt. Make an extra car payment. Pay off a credit card. You never know when you are going to be thanking yourself for being so resourceful. Check out my post on how to create a budget.
  • Save it! We don’t have a crystal ball, so we don’t know what is in store for us in the future. Having a cushion can really save you some sanity if something unfortunate was to happen.

Extra money during the holidays can be used on a little treat for yourself, too!

Are there any ways that you like to make extra money? Give us some ideas in the comments!

Couponing 101: The Crazy Shopping Cart Explains Why Couponing Isn’t Crazy!

Here at Momma Making Moves we concentrate on saving money, time, and sanity. However, I will be the first to say that in order to accomplish this, we need to continue to learn and try new things. With that being said, I have to make a confession…

Couponing can be more than a little bit scary to me.

There! I said it! While I advocate doing what is necessary to save money, especially for us big families, I have just recently jumped on the couponing bandwagon. And I am going to share one more little secret…

I may not know much about couponing, but I know how to find good bloggers who do!

Tiffany at The Crazy Shopping Cart not only explains everything you need to know about couponing, but offers great resources to help you be successful. Annnnnd, she agreed to guest post on Momma Making Moves to explain couponing 101 to us. Here is her advice!

 

Couponing 101: learn how to save money with couponing!

Couponing 101: The Crazy Shopping Cart Explains Why Couponing Isn’t Crazy

When you hear the word “couponing,” what do you think of?

For me, I remember my mother sitting every Sunday evening at the kitchen table, intently pouring over the weekly ads and clipping the newspaper coupons.  She spent hours each week preparing and executing each shopping trip, only to save a few dollars.  (Although, a couple of dollars was quite a lot of money back in…..well, let’s just say that when I was kid, it was quite a few years ago!)

This image is what came to my mind two years ago when, at a church activity focused on emergency preparedness, a woman in our church raised her hand and stated she used couponing to help build an emergency supply of food to have on hand in her home.  I started to tune her out until she said, “I haven’t paid more than $.50 for a box of Cheerios in years, and I always get my toothpaste and shampoo for free.”

Couponing is a great way to save money on household essentials!
Couponing is a great way to save money on household essentials!
Couponing With the Internet

After that meeting, several of us surrounded her and begged her to teach us her ways.  I braced myself for hours of work, repeating that it would be worth it.  Imagine my surprise when our first meeting with her took less than 30 minutes, and I ended up saving over 50% on my groceries that week!

What makes the difference between my mother’s way of couponing and my own?  Two words: the Internet!

Now, instead of having to find each deal on your own when the Sunday paper comes out, someone else has most likely already had an early edition of the ad and upcoming coupons, done a matchup, and posted it on the internet to share!  What used to take hours of work to clip and catalogue coupons, read ads, and prepare shopping lists is now already completed several days before the sales actually begin!

In fact, there are now so many different websites, blogs, Instagram accounts, etc. that focus on couponing, it’s a bit overwhelming!  When I first began couponing, I felt adrift in a sea of acronyms and phrases that were more like a foreign language than English.  Thankfully, my friend from church walked me through it all until I was confident enough to go on my own.  And now, two years later, I even blog about it!

Couponing 101

Couponing can be very simple, if you follow the steps and go slow.  Here are some steps to help you along the way:

  1. Get coupons.  You can purchase the Sunday paper each week, or there are even some websites where you can order pre-clipped coupons mailed to your door!
  2. Start learning coupon terms, slang, and rules.  It’s extremely important to recognize that there are rules to couponing.
  3. Pick a grocery store that you already shop at and feel comfortable with.  Chances are, there is a website or Facebook group that is dedicated to that store!  They will provide you with lists of deals each week, matching up coupons with sales to help you get the best deal.
  4. Choose just one or two deals that you want to try out.  Perhaps something that you would normally purchase anyway (like diapers or cereal), collect the necessary coupons, and go try it out!
  5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or ask for help!  If you get to the store and feel lost, just slow down.  I found it helpful at checkout to tell the cashier something like, “Hi!  I have some coupons to use today.  I’m new to couponing and haven’t really done this before.  Please let me know if I’ve messed anything up.”  They’ll be very happy to help you out!

    Couponing can be less daunting if you shop at a store you know.
    Couponing can be less daunting if you shop at a store you know.
Continuing With Couponing

After the first few trips, as you start to get the hang of one or two deals, you can then start doing more.  Please, please go at a pace that you feel comfortable with.  It’s so easy with today’s technology to see posts on couponing Facebook groups of amazing hauls that cost almost nothing and feel like you are so far away from that.  I used to feel that way, too!  In fact, I still make mistakes sometimes!  Just last week, I messed up my coupon count and ended up losing out on $10 of savings.  It was pretty disappointing, but since it was something I normally needed anyways (diapers), I reminded myself that any savings on something I would already buy is better than the full-price I would have otherwise paid!

If you’re still feeling nervous or overwhelmed about couponing, you’re in good company!  I can’t count the number of times I received emails or Facebook messages from people who just feel lost with couponing.  To help them (and you!) get a firmer understanding, I’ve put together a free ebook:  it’s called “The Beginner’s Guide to Couponing,” and it walks you through all of the different steps I mentioned above.  You’ll learn all about where to get coupons, how to organize them, what the coupon rules are, coupon lingo, and so much more!

How To Find More Information

You can find Tiffany’s ebook (and so, so much more about couponing) at The Crazy Shopping Cart. I plan on utilizing her ebook when my hubby and I sit down to do our meal planning tomorrow. If you want ideas on how you can save money on meals for your family, go snag her ebook and then check out my series on meal planning here.

Tiffany is a former math teacher and SAHM who loves finding good deals!  She and her husband, who is an engineer, work together on The Crazy Shopping Cart.  They enjoy spending time with their family, geeking out over sci-fi, and saving money.

Sausage, Potatoes, and Onion- Quick, Easy, and Cheap Go-To Dinner

quick, easy, cheap, dinner, sausage, saving time, saving money, saving sanityMy usual requirements for a favorite dinner include easy, cheap, and fast. I mean, I’ll cook other meals, but those three boxes need to be checked if it is a meal that I’m going to cook often.

Last night we returned home after evacuating for eight days and needed a quick, easy, and cheap meal. Hurricane Irma ravaged my area but we were extremely lucky. Other than minor damage, our house was standing and our family was safe together. We did, however, lose power for 5 days causing everything in our fridge and freezers (we have a deep freezer as well) to expire.

To complicate things, the stores within a close proximity were either still out of power or recovering from losing power. The stores my husband ventured into were full of people even if many shelves were empty. Dinner was going to be a slight challenge.

empty shelves, Hurricane, no power, quick dinner, easy dinner, cheap dinner
Some of the empty shelves after Hurricane Irma.

While he was searching the stores, I was scouring the pantry. I found that somehow we still had potatoes and a couple of onions. Right then he called to say that he found some of the Hillshire Farms sausage that we like on sale- three of them for five bucks. Score!

I knew what we were going to have for dinner and it checked all three boxes. And it is delicious. Perfect for our first home cooked meal after an extended time away.

We are a family of seven, so if you are a smaller family you can obviously use less of the ingredients.

Ingredients

  • Beef smoked sausage (2 of them)
  • 6 large potatoes (I only had small potatoes and beggars can’t be choosers)
  • 1 large onion (again…you get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit. Ignore my miniature onion.)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil or grapeseed oil

Steps

  1. Slice up potatoes, onions, and sausage. 
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Place frying pan on stove and turn to medium high heat in order to preheat.
  4. Drizzle the oil into a glass pan.
  5. Add potatoes and onions.
  6. Toss with oil and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. 
  7. Place in oven at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.
  8. In the meantime, place sausage slices in the frying pan. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Let cook for 4 minutes and check for desired doneness on the side that is down. My kiddos think that anything slightly dark is burnt; my hubby and I like crispy edges. If you are cooking for a small army, like me, you will need to do batches.
  9. Drain sausage on napkins.
  10. Add sausage to potatoes and mix.
  11. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through (tender enough for a fork to pierce through without mushing the potato)
  12. Top with sour cream if desired and enjoy!!!

Hopefully your family will enjoy this dinner as much as mine does. What are some of your go-to dinners? Leave me ideas in the comments!

Disney on Ice Survival Kit: How to Make it out With Your Sanity and Your Budget Intact

Make it out of Disney on Ice with both your sanity and your budget.

You did it! You are taking your kids to Disney on Ice! You just committed yourself to being the best parent in the world. You just purchased tickets to the live musical ice version of the Disney movie that is constantly tormenting you, I mean constantly on repeat, in your house. If you think that succeeding in suppressing your gag reflex while clicking the online purchase button was the hardest part of this commitment, you are sadly mistaken. Here are some valuable tips to surviving Disney on Ice.

  1. Set a budget.

This is actually more complicated than some rookies may realize. Yes, the tickets are most likely going to be the bulk of your expense. However, they are most certainly not going to be your only expenses. These type of events will try to suck every last dollar out of you. Parking is typically not free and can vary with each venue so you definitely want to check into the cost ahead of time. Most dangerous of all, of course, are the souvenirs. Everywhere you look there will be light up swords, costumes, plush toys, and $15 bags of cotton candy. If you think that you dodged the bullet when you somehow maneuvered your kiddos past the onslaught of booths right inside of the venue, you are sadly mistaken. There will be peddlers skillfully navigating the maze of seats throughout the show and intermission as well. (Personal tip- Buy some “souvenirs” from Amazon, wrap them, and give them before you go. I then suggest we leave them at home so that we have nothing to “slow us down” while trying to make it to our seats.)

2. Plan your entrance, and your escape.

Those toys we talked about, bright flashing hunks of plastic that eventually are going to pad the landfill of the bottomless closet or toy box, are all available before the show. Know where your seats are ahead of time and plan for the entrance that allows you the shortest route. That parking lot you just paid to park in is about to be a catastrophic mess. All of the parents fleeing as fast as they can becomes a breeding ground for road rage and very unDisney-like behavior. My advice, park closer to the exit and take the extra time during the walk into the arena to remind your kids that they already have their “souvenirs” waiting for them safely at home.

parking, Disney,
Parking may be a disaster.
3. Be an adult.

Yes, Disney was created to be enchanting. Yes, it is nice to be swept up into the magic of make-believe even as an adult (hello- soap operas, romantic comedies, etc.). HOWEVER, Disney on Ice is particularly special for children. These little boys and girls are excited. They are overstimulated. They are going to be loud, rambunctious and possibly inappropriate. You need to be an adult and you need to NOT be inappropriate. You need to remember that while you spent a lot of your hard-earned money on tickets, so did the parent of the sugared-up Elsa doppelgänger kicking the back of your chair while singing “Let it Go” in an excruciatingly loud screeching voice. Suck it up buttercup and let the kid be a kid. (To the woman who rolled her eyes at my little Elsa, I hope you read this. By the way, you were turned into a lesson on how NOT to behave in public.)

4. Find your happy place.

If you are not one of those adults who can fall into the rabbit hole and slip back into childhood fantasies, enter the arena with a plan. I, personally, am not the biggest fan of these type of events. I am, however, a huge fan of my kiddos. I truthfully pay attention to less than a quarter of the performance. My attention is captured by the sheer joy that is radiating from my little Elsa and Ana (at least before intermission). I have more pictures of my Elsa frozen (hehe, no pun intended) in utter shock at watching her idol elegantly glide across the ice rink than I do of the show. My babies being happy is my happy place. If that doesn’t do it for you, then retreat inside your head. I won’t shame you if you spend the entire two hours planning your next project at work, or if you are replaying your favorite sappy movie in your head. And I definitely won’t blame you if you are inside the safety of your own head mentally punching the mom a few seats over that refuses to stop shooting dirty looks to your four year old because I may, or may not have, chosen to spend a few minutes of my experience doing the same thing.

5. Try to put down the camera (phone) and just be there.

If you like the show, watch it live instead of on video once you get home. If you are more interested in watching your kiddos, take a few photos here and there, video the rugrats singing their favorite song, and spend the rest of the time taking in the smiles and random hugs, kisses, and compliments. Sometimes we focus so much on capturing the moment that we don’t experience the moment.

smartphone, camera, pictures, Disney on Ice
Try to put down the smartphone or camera and just enjoy the experience.
6. Be prepared for after.

Did you think that having the pre-nap time show will equal a longer than normal nap time? Did you plan on the last show because you predicted that they would be exhausted after all of that excitement and bedtime would finally, finally be a breeze? If so, how did that work out for you? No matter how many times I have learned this does not work for my kiddos, I still  almost believe it may. If you are planning on not parenting after the show then you are probably planning incorrectly. They will either sleep on the ride home and bounce right back up as soon as you pull into the driveway, or they will serenade you the entire drive home and then reenact the show in your living room for what seems like the rest of eternity. Over stimulation does two things- it gets the mind juices flowing and/ or creates the crankiest little monsters you have ever met. Either one does not bode well for a relaxing evening after the show.

Following these tips may not guarantee that you actually have the time of your life. Following these tips, however, may just help guarantee that your little ones have the time of their life, and ultimately isn’t that all that matters?