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Once we decided to get intentional with our money and committed to paying off our debt, we were looking for any place possible to hustle a few extra dollars into our budget.
We paused our retirement contributions, Dan worked as much overtime as he could, and we slashed our spending in all budget categories.
But we also found little ways to add a few dollars here and there. I added a ‘bonus money’ income line on my budget. I didn’t plan for any income there, but it was a great way to see at the end of each month how much extra money we had hustled!
You wouldn’t think it matters much, but seriously, every dollar adds up – I did a quick scan through my budgets from when we were in debt-repayment mode and the grand total of hustle money was $4828! So, it might not feel like it is worth it, but I’d say for sure it is! Nearly $5000 extra in 13 months? that’s pretty sweet!
Here are some of the little things we did (and still do!) to increase our cash flow and pay down our debt as quickly as possible.
I’ve told you about this app before, so hopefully, you are already using it.
If not, check it out on your mobile device – when you use THIS LINK I get a little referral bonus, so thank you in advance!
The way the app works – you get real life money back when you buy the items that Checkout51 is offering each week. All you do is submit a picture of your receipt!
The offers vary from week to week. I’ve claimed everything from cheese and cereal to shampoo and deodorant. I only buy things that are on my grocery list or that I would buy anyway, and I make sure to submit my receipt as soon as I get home from the store, so I don’t forget.
It is seriously SO easy to use, and in the past year, I’ve gotten $85.50 sent to me. It’s not going to make a HUGE dent in your debt or build your savings to epic amounts. But being mindful of your pennies is part of developing a millionaire mindset and getting intentional with your money.
Whenever I get a cheque in the mail, I deposit it with my phone and immediately put that money where it needs to go!
Speaking of apps, here is another one to check out!
Google Opinion Rewards is a free app that will pay you for your opinions. I have earned anywhere from ten cents to one dollar per survey, and you GUYS! The surveys take about 12 seconds to do.
Generally, the questions are if you shopped at certain local stores and how you would rank your experience, or what line of work you are in. They never take more than a minute to complete.
You don’t get cash-money for it, but you do build up Cash in your google account that you can use to buy apps (or, as I do, buy ebooks and audiobooks in the Play Books app).
I just checked my account, and since 2016 I’ve done 426 surveys, and I’ve earned $108.56 – free money! So I haven’t ever paid for an app.
As an Android user, I’m not sure how it works on iPhones, but check out the Opinion Rewards iOS app and see for yourself!
Ok, so I am new to EBates , but this is an EASY way to make money on things you would be buying anyway!
Basically, you start from their website to connect to other sites where you are planning to shop. And then you get a percentage of cash back on any purchases you make! This is money you would already be spending, why not get money BACK?
And we aren’t talking random websites.
You get up to 5% back when you shop at Amazon.ca!
Different retailers have different return rates, but seriously you guys?! Sephora, Old Navy, The Gap, Indigo…so many sites!
AND – you can buy Gift Cards on there and get cash back on those too! 5% back from Indigo or the Keg! The list is long, my friends…they cover groceries, gas stations, restaurants (SO MANY!!), clothing, they even have an airline on there. Not MY favourite airline, but another popular Canadian flight provider!
What a great way to make a few extra dollars. If you already know you are going to buy something from Toys R Us, why not grab a gift card and get 2% cash back?
Ebates has a schedule of payment, so every three months they send out cheques. Literally, just free money delivered to your mailbox! (Yes, it’s not free, because you had to spend money to get it…BUT! If you were going to spend the dollars anyways, let’s get some of it back!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen post after post on Pinterest about doing surveys to make a thousand dollars a week.
Not to be a bubble burster, but these surveys are not going to make you a millionaire. But neither will recycling your empties. (Unless you are running a bottle and can empire?) As with every money-making tip on here, slow and steady wins the race!
I was connected with the top Canadian opinion panel, Leger Surveys, by my sweet Uncle Barry. He has been doing surveys for them since 2014 and he has collected $360, delivered in cheque form, to his mailbox. Not retirement-levels of wealth. But $360 he didn’t have before.
Basically, when you sign up you get emails about surveys, you complete them to share your opinion on products, services and brands you like (or don’t like!), and you earn points. You can then trade the points in for cash, Airmiles and Aeroplan reward miles, or gift cards to two favourite coffee chains!
The company is going through a bit of a rebranding right now, and claims faster and better rewards – more money in our pockets! I am new to this process, literally 2 days in as I type this, but I’ve already made $4.50! Give it a try today and let me know when you start making some extra money!
Ok, so I’d like to assume that you are already doing your part for the planet and recycling your bottles and cans. If you are not – get on it!
The real key here though is what you do with the money you get. We wait until we have a few garbage bags full in the garage and then take them in. We usually get about $50 back, and prior to our Reach journey, we could have spent that money in a hot minute without thinking twice about it.
Today, as soon as we have the bills in hand, the next stop is the bank to make a deposit, and then a quick hop onto online banking to drop that exact amount on to whichever debt is on deck (or straight into savings)!
Years and years ago Dan got connected with a local focus research group. They pay you cash to come into the office for an hour or two and talk about your thoughts and feelings around certain products or events.
We have done focus groups about bacon, beer, sign placement in our community, banking, home building, website design, grocery stores…the list goes on! We’ve done about a dozen over the years, and they generally pay between one and two hundred dollars, cash!
A quick google for focus groups in your area will help you see if this is a reasonable way for you to make some extra dollars!
Selling STUFF online
Our financial overhaul came shortly after we changed our eating habits and started to minimalize our home.
As I moved through the house, one room at a time, getting rid of all the things we either didn’t want or truly didn’t need, I amassed a huge pile of STUFF. Clothes, books, kitchen gadgets, DVDs, decorations, sports equipment, toys – you name it, we were getting rid of it.
Generally, I would load all that stuff into the car and haul it to my local goodwill. And PLEASE don’t get me wrong, I do think donating (time, money and goods) is SO important. One of my number one reasons for getting out of debt and being intentional with my money is so that I can give generously.
But in order to be financially stable and therefore able to GIVE GENEROUSLY, I needed to get out of debt. So instead of donating the piles of STUFF, I started selling it online. I used an app called Varage Sale, but there are different options based on where you live. Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace, and Let Go are some other options, and a quick google search will help you find a program near you.
It takes time to take pictures and get everything listed, not to mention communicating and making sales. I treated my Varage Sale Hustle as a part-time job last winter, and it paid off – I have made well over $2000!
I kept the Varage Sale money in a jar on my dresser, and I NEVER spent it on random things. When there are bills, we put them in the bank right away. Then we move the money where it needs to go immediately. Every so often I dump out the coins and roll what I can; they go to the bank too, and everything goes towards my goal!
Choose your stores intentionally
By choosing a grocery store or gas station with a program that makes sense for you, you can collect valuable rewards – cash, points, miles – and make your grocery & gas budget really work for you!
We belong to our local Co-op, which is a western(ish) Canadian grocery store. If you live anywhere west of Ontario, you might have a Co-op close to you, and it’s worth checking out.
We don’t get our groceries there, but we DO get our gas there. They do a rebate program for gas – with a return of eight cents per litre. You don’t feel the savings right away, but it IS nice when the cheque comes in February! This past year we earned $95. Just for getting gas at a cheaper price than we’d pay at a different station!
They also give 2% cash back on prescriptions, which can add up pretty fast too. Definitely worth checking out!
Another awesome Canadian option is Superstore & Shoppers Drug Mart. The PC Optimum program tailors offers specifically to YOUR shopping patterns. Points accumulate as in-store dollars to use on groceries. And, if you (responsibly!!) use their PC Rewards Mastercard, you get even more bonus points. That adds up to even more free groceries! Yay!!
If you don’t have a Co-op or Superstore near you, do some research about what stores and gas stations have loyalty programs that might work for you. Even if you only get $20 back, that’s still $20 you didn’t have before!
There are a lot of quick ways to add a bit of extra money to your budget. These won’t all work for you, but hopefully, you found one or two that you will try out! I know I’m excited to start getting money back on my Amazon purchases!
Whether you are paying off debt or building up wealth, getting intentional with every single penny will get you there faster. Try these tricks to bring in a few extra dollars each month and share below – how are you making extra money?