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I haven’t always been financially savvy  – in fact I had to hit some serious rock bottom THREE times before I realized it’s time to get my crap together. But looking back, it’s crazy to think that was me once upon a time. Right now we live off of $21,000 a year. Before taxes peeps. Some may think “yikes – how can anyone survive on that?” Well, we do. And honestly we haven’t been happier. Although our situation is a bit different right now than it will be in the future, the point is as long as it works for us now, then that’s all that matters. I share my side income and monthly goals at the end of each month. You can see my full list of recommendations here.

Check out our updated debt situation with this post!

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  • EBAY/GARAGE SALES – This is not something you can use all the time to make money. But recently we combed through all our belongings for two reasons – to see what this minimalism is
    all about, and to see how much crap we would have to move later this year. But, if you have some good things collecting dust around the house, get rid of them!
  • CLOTHING APPS/THREDUP – This is more like a seasonal money-maker. I made a killing last year when I completed cleaned out my closet, but for the most part I only clean it out twice a year. I have used Mercari, Poshmark and ThredUp. If you have clothes that have been in your closet that you haven’t worn in a while – get rid of them! (notice a pattern?)
  • PHOTOGRAPHY – this is my side hustle. I love photography, I’ve taught myself how to use a camera and edit photos, and now I get to charge people every once in awhile to take pretty portraits.
  • MISCELLANEOUS – This is more of a catch-all category for small items that aren’t common. Birthday money, tax refunds, selling gift cards (a great thing to do after the holidays if you have cards you will never use), and Ebates. If you don’t have Ebates, you really need to look into it and sign up now. I don’t use it as often since I have curbed my spending, but it sure is nice to get a random check in the mail 4 times a year for the items I do buy online.


  • NETSPEND – This is an easy one – visit Netspend using this link, get your card, load it with $40, and get a $20 bonus. Who doesn’t like an extra $20? Then, refer your own friends and family, and get $20 for every person who gets a card and loads $40. I signed up, and transferred over $40 from my grocery fund. Instant $20 bonus! Then, my husband signed up and then we both got an extra $20. So in one month, we made an extra $60 just moving over money we planned on using anyways. Then, I just used that card towards my groceries balance. WIN!
  • DIGIT – Now this isn’t really a way to make money, but a smart savings that tricks you into saving money – in a good way! They use an algorithm to monitor your account, and make small transfers throughout the week. They promise to pay any overdraft fees they cause (they haven’t caused any yet) and the deposits are so small, you don’t even notice. I have been using it since September, and already have $180 saved. We plan on using this as Christmas money this year! You can read my review on Digit here.


This one is the easiest way to earn money with minimal effort. If you are willing to set aside some time to take surveys, I list my favorites below (and I have tried out quite a few).

  • INBOX DOLLARS – This is a paid email and survey site, but I usually only do the paid emails. I log into the site each day, click-through the paid emails, and that’s it. It’s important you shut off your notifications though – otherwise you will get them all day, everyday.
  • SWAGBUCKS – Everyone’s favorite money-making site! So much you can do to earn money on this site. Surveys, watch videos – even install a button that alerts you every time there is a swag code to enter. I also use them as my default search engine, and that’s where the most points come in. Several times I have been awarded 25+ swagbucks just for searching for something online. Now since I work from home, I will turn on their videos, mute my computer and just let them run in the background all day.
  • MINTVINE – This is a survey website that I use frequently. I have tested many survey sites, and there are only a handful that I spend time on. But that’s the trick, you have to set aside time to take the surveys. I give myself a half hour every day. But in the end, it pays out pretty decently. Nothing to run to the bank with, but every dollar counts when you’re paying off debt!
  • HARRIS POLL – This is another survey site I am a fan of. Easy surveys, great payout and so far I have cashed in a few times for Amazon gift cards, which I use to purchase my homemade beauty supply ingredients.
  • E-REWARDS – This is a survey website that I have been using for YEARS. And they have quite a catalog of rewards. You can set up how often you want surveys. I use my points for Southwest Rapid Rewards points, since my family is all over the country. Last year alone I had 6,000 points just from E-Rewards.


You have to go grocery shopping, right? Add one more step and you have some small money headed your way.

  • CHECKOUT 51 – Another awesome grocery store app. Find rebates, scan your products, scan your receipt, get paid. They don’t seem to have as many items I shop for like some of the other apps, but I still check them out weekly.
  • IBOTTA – This app is used after you go shopping – and they have a ton of stores to grab rebates from. I use this primarily after grocery shopping. I shop with a strict list and know what I will be purchasing each week, so I check the Ibotta app for any rebates. Then when I get home I scan the item, scan the receipt and they add the money to my account. Easy peasy. If you use my referral link, you will get $10 if you redeem a rebate within two weeks.
  • RECEIPT PAL – Another easy peasy. Scan all your receipts, get points, turn points in for things.
  • RECEIPT HOG – Same as above! Scan receipts, get points, turn in for things. Win! Plus, some receipts count towards spins instead of coins, and their slot machine is a fun distraction from your busy day.
  • NCP – This one is a bit different – they ask that you scan all your products and submit weekly for points. It’s a bit more time-consuming, but all I do is scan each item before I put it away.

These are my go to survey apps that are only mobile friendly

  • ONTHEGO – This is a survey app for your phone. They send push notifications for mobile surveys, you take them, they give you money. No survey has lasted longer than a few minutes so far.
  • GOOGLE REWARDS – Another great, easy survey app but this one is for Android users only. They send you surveys through the app, and reward you with Google Play credits. I use these credits to pay for books and magazines, and sometimes music. You can use them for anything in the Play store.

Phew! That was a lot of information, but I wanted to make sure you knew about every possible way you can easily make side income. It really is SO easy to do, if you make the time to do it. And it really doesn’t take a whole lot of time.

I hope these have been helpful! You can always find this on my resources page, where I will be continuously updating it as I try different things.

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  1. Mardene Carr | 10th Mar 16

    This is a great list, thanks for sharing it. I will be sharing it with my followers

  2. heather@swellcondition | 11th Mar 16

    Wow, that was interesting!! I know and do the purging & selling of household/clothing items (lately though I’ve just been donating) but I’ve never done any surveys or apps – so this is all new to me (nooo, I haven’t been living under a rock….) thanks and I’m going to check a couple of them out!

  3. Valerie | 5th May 16

    I just signed up to get my clean out kit for ThredUp – I’ve been meaning to do that FOREVER. I have so many things without tags on – I usually just donate and take the tax write-off, but after our spring, we could use the cash!

    • Lauren | 6th May 16

      I have used ThredUp THREE times, I keep finding clothes I really don’t need! And handbags. Like boxes of handbags I’ve never used. Sometimes the payout is small, and sometimes it is huge but every bit counts 🙂

  4. Brenda Anderson | 15th Jun 16

    Thank you. I am interested in signing up for e rewards but it is invitation only. How do we get signed up. Thank you for your blog post I really enjoyed it.

  5. Brenda Anderson | 16th Jun 16

    Thank you for your help!

  6. Tarah-Lynn | 11th Oct 16

    Thanks for the amazing list! I’m going to look into surveys!

  7. Danielle | 11th Oct 16

    Ooooh this list is so helpful. I love how there’s so much great info out there that so many of us don’t know and then someone like you presents it all in one place! I gotta check this out a bit more to see what I can do but I’m so excited that there could be something else. Thanks a bunchies!!!

    Danielle | <3

  8. Marc | 28th Jun 17

    Looking to sell photos on iStockPhoto as my next little experiment.

    Nice post!
    Marc recently posted…Finance Prepping – Money Still Makes The World Go Round

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