The plan to stay home... again

On November 10th I went back to work in a position that was "part time" meaning it was a minimum of 20 hours a week and up to 39 hours. Well, yesterday I resigned because with the hours varying and after gas, childcare, and other work expenses I was barely breaking even (and could possibly lose money)! With two young children I feel like it's almost impossible for me to find a job where it would actually be worth my time and the sacrifice of being away from my kids. So here I am, back at home again and trying to come up with a plan to make it work. Here are a few things I'm going to focus on that have worked in the past and will hopefully continue to ease the financial burden of being a stay at home mom:

1. Surveys - For the past couple years online surveys have been a great way for me to buy extras, make deposits in the bank account, and even pay for essentials (especially on baby items ordered with Amazon gift cards earned). Typically I can earn an average of $5+ a day on surveys and often get free products.
2. Swagbucks - Swagbucks is an easy way to earn Amazon gift cards or Paypal money simply by using it as a search engine. There are lots of other ways to earn points as well!
3. Groupons - I frequently buy Groupons for eating out, entertainment, shopping, etc. When I see a good deal I also share it with friends and sometimes earn free credits. Some of my other favorite sites are Plum District, Living Social, Eversave, and Scoutmob.
4. Mypoints - I earn gift cards from Mypoints frequently, simply from reading emails or purchasing Groupons and shopping online through Mypoints.
4. Participate in marketing campaigns - A couple of my favorite websites that provide opportunities to try things free are bzzagent.com and houseparty.com. With coupons from Bzzagent, I was able to pick up these items for FREE last week. Bzzagent also rewards you with Mypoints points for activities you complete!

Around the house:
1. Cutting down on utility bills - I'm making a serious effort to unplug things like cell phone chargers when they are not in use, to turn lights off when I am not in the room, and to wear a jacket and socks instead of cranking up the heater.
2. Dusting off the cloth diapers - I stopped cloth diapering for a little while because I needed a break, Jacob was soaking through diapers, and we were on the go a lot and I did not want to deal with it. However, now that I am back home with the boys, I'm going to cloth diaper Elliot during the day. On average 5 cloth diaper changes a day would save me $.80-1.00, so up to $30 a month. That's a really easy way to save money!
3. Clear out the clutter - I know that I can go through my closet, books, baby items, and more to downsize and possibly make a little extra money through Craigslist
4. Re-purpose - I'd love to add some flavor and design to our house but home decor can be pricey! I think in the process of clearing out clutter, I'm going to look for DIY ideas that re-use things I already have. Pinterest is a great place to find ideas :)
5. Clothes swap - I have a couple friends that I swap clothes with and it cuts down on expenses especially for the kids.

1. Coupons - I use some coupons when I shop, however there are a lot of items I buy that there are not coupons available for, such as produce. I also quit getting the Sunday paper because in our efforts to eat healthier, I found that most of the coupons I didn't end up using. Now I mostly print the coupons I want online through Mypoints (so I earn more points) or from finding high value coupons on Facebook.
2. Buying in bulk - I buy items like toilet paper, paper towels, natural laundry soap, and other foods items that we use frequently from Sam's Club. I can also order items from Amazon through their Subscribe & Save discount and save that way.
4. Plan ahead - I want to start freezer cooking, meal planning, and in general using my time more efficiently.

1. Kindle books - I don't have a Kindle so I can't take advantage of the new Kindle library through Amazon. However people are able to personally loan books to others for a couple weeks and they can be viewed on Kindle reading apps. I loaned a book to a friend a few months ago and hopefully I can convince a few friends to loan to me soon. Also there are tons of FREE Kindle books available on Amazon.
2. Groupons, gift card deals, etc. - When going out we use groupons, coupons, and gift cards I've earned online or purchased at a discount.
3. Redbox - Redbox offers free rental codes all the time, this is a great way to save money on movie rentals
4. Ask for a discount - I've been able to get a discount on our Directv and internet bills by calling and asking for a discount. Also when we travel, we always ask for a military discount, or deal through an auto club membership, etc.

Side Jobs:
1. Selling Scentsy - My friends and I purchase Scentsy items, so I figured why not sell it? The start up cost  wasn't too high and it's already paid for itself.
2. Photography - I'm a portrait photographer and have had a steady increase in business over the past year. I think with a little more marketing, things could pick up even more!
3. Offer to help others - Dog sitting, babysitting, etc. I will see if there are other tasks I can assist friends with because trading favors is a wonderful way to help and get help when you need it.

What other tips do you have for me???

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