I have not worked in fifteen years!
Ok, now that I have your attention, let me clarify that! I have not held a "job" where I receive a "paycheck" in the last (approximately) fifteen years. Sure, I have cycled through the regular list of things that stay-at-home moms do to make extra money. I have sold Avon, baked goods, and old clothes at garage sales. I even dragged my family into a recent adventure of delivering phone books! All have served their purpose, but none has panned out as a steady source of money to fulfill my desires.
Since I am a busy homeschool mom without a lot of extra time, and with no outside income source, I have found a few ways to make some cash, and would like to share my top three.
Perhaps the easiest is a web site called ebates I do a lot of shopping online. I have found that if I stick with reputable websites and use Paypal when available, that I can do so safely, saving a great deal of time, effort, and gas money. I can take my time to browse and comparison shop at night when the kids are sleeping. I also like to use free shipping and coupon deals to my advantage. Several years ago, I set up an account on ebates, and always enter whatever website I am shopping through that site first. Ebates tracks your purchase, and awards a percentage of the total to your account. When your account reaches a certain dollar amount, or at the end of a set time frame, whichever comes first, you receive a "big, fat check" in the mail! It is SO easy! The only extra work involved is entering your shopping site THROUGH the ebates website first. And this REALLY does work! It is not a scam! Over the years, I have found that the little pennies add up and I have received over $150 from ebates since joining, for virtually NO extra work at all!
My "old reliable" source of making extra money is to sell items on ebay. Every year, I sell all the school materials that my children are done using and that I won't need to save for another student. I have found that if you offer the materials at a fair price, describe them accurately, and ship them quickly (without charging extra for shipping!) that people will gladly purchase through ebay. I have also found that the best time of the year to sell secondhand school materials on ebay is in August/September. It appeals to those who are looking for last minute deals, or an addition to what they have already started with. While most materials sell for 'pennies on the dollar' of their original price, it is a good feeling to clear out clutter and know that you are also helping another homeschooling family while making some extra money. Most of the "extras" that I want to enhance our homeschool, but that are not in our homeschool budget, are purchased through my ebay ventures.
Ebay is also a great place to sell gently used clothing, toys, and household goods. My suggestion would be to research your item a bit before listing it. Know about it. Know it's value. Most importantly, know exactly how much it will cost to ship the item before you list it. This generally involves packaging and weighing it even before you write your listing. If you estimate a shipping price and it's too low, you will lose money and be frustrated. If you list a shipping price that is too high, it could be considered unethical and you will aggravate your customers! Or you may even prevent them from bidding. Look on ebay's search engines to see if your item has a demand. If there are 50 listings of that same item, and no one is bidding, then it is a waste of your time to go through all the work of listing it. Lastly, take LOTS of pictures! The auctions that receive the most bids are those that show off the item.
My newest interest is Amazon's Trade-In Center - a great place to clear out clutter and get paid for it! Amazon offers credit for a long list of items, including video games, books, movies, and electronics. You can search your item, and see what the going rate is. Should you choose to submit a trade, you select your item and its condition, and then submit it to the trade center. Amazon takes you to a page where you can print off a free UPS shipping label. All you have to do is gather your items, package them, tape the label on, and get them to a UPS shipping center - no cost to you! Once Amazon receives and verifies the items, you receive your credit, which can be used on anything that Amazon sells! While this could be used for special items, or birthday/Christmas shopping, it could also be used for groceries! Sitting by my door, I have two packages ready to be shipped out tomorrow that are heading to Amazon's trade in center. For just a few minutes of cleaning out, and clicking, I have $27 in Amazon credit coming my way! While it is true that the trade in values of many items are not as high as you could get if you sold them privately, there also is very little work involved in selling them back to Amazon this way, so you will have to determine if the trade off is worth it.
I hope these ideas help someone who is looking to make some extra money while staying busy being a homeschooling mom! While most of our 'pay' is intangible, everyone loves a 'bonus' occasionally!
I have a favor to ask my readers.... Recently, I "went public" with this blog. At the top right side of the page, there is a space where you can "follow" the blog. (Not the follow by email choice, but the choice to become a "member" and follow the site publicly). Would you please sign on as a member of the blog? I am trying to reach a public following of 22 members in order to qualify for a special homeschool/blogging project. Thanks!