Wee Beans

At first, I started off very conservatively with my goals, and am still in a relatively “wee beans” stage.  My usual daily haul with online earnings from various GPT (“Get Paid To”) sites is around $2-3 a day. Sounds pretty pathetic, doesn’t it?  But if you multiply that by 30 days…now we’re talking.  $60 to $90 extra a month is nothing to sneeze at, especially when you’re earning in the comfort of your own home, per your own schedule, and most likely, not wearing pants!

Keep in mind that depending on the site(s) you use, you won’t always earn enough per month to hit cashout or gift card redemption requirements, but you will be earning towards those goals, and your daily earnings will grow slowly, but surely.  Then if you add in a daily consistent dose of entering sweeps and instant wins, you’ll push your earnings even higher.

I’m often tempted to bite off more than I can chew on certain days when I’m feeling really confident (where I conjure loftier goals for the coming months out of thin air). That’s not to say you can’t dream big or bigger, or that a windfall won’t land at your feet. But those are IFs (and perfect for a wish list). I found it best not to aim too high too fast, set easily obtainable goals in the beginning, and allow myself a lot of flexibility.

The beginning is a great time to get comfortable with which sites work best for you, how much time you can devote per day, and how high or low to set your goals.  You’ll begin to develop an ideal system for yourself while learning the ropes.  Your earnings and savings will speed up naturally once you find your groove.

So start thinking about your goals. Are you going to be saving up for something in particular, or a general emergency fund? Maybe you just want extra money for groceries, eating out, or a new pair of shoes.  Do you want to be able to cover a few bills a month, or treat yourself to something fun? Perhaps you’ve got your eye on a birthday or Christmas gift for a loved one.  You’ll probably have multiple reasons for earning and saving, which is absolutely awesome, because it opens up additional sources of motivation. Why limit yourself?

Now, let’s get you going on earning some wee beans, so you can start growing your beanstalks!

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The Edge

In the summer of 2009, I had been laid off from a job, and was preparing to be evicted within months from my apartment and live in my car with my dog. I didn’t know where I was going to go, or what I was going to do, but I was thankful that I would at least have a car. It was over 10 years old, but in pretty good shape, and there was room enough to sleep comfortably with Buddy and store a few things.

I was terrified of the idea at first. Me? Living in my car?  With my dog?  Like a vagabond? What the hell happened to my life?   As I started to realize I would have to sell and discard the majority of my belongings, and store what I couldn’t take, I fought hard to avoid the fate I was running headlong into.  I was in a state of denial and panic for weeks.

And then a very strange thing happened:  I accepted this possible fate.  Because it was staring me right in the face, I realized I couldn’t look away. I had to face it. Once I did, my fears turned into challenges. Daunting as they were, I began to embrace these obstacles. I started packing essentials. I researched articles about living on the road. I created a big to-do list: Get a library card. Start selling stuff on Craigslist. Make a list of emergency contacts. Buy a phone card. Get oil changed and top off fluids. Determine first destination. Get maps. And on it went.

Just in case. I had to be ready.

Meanwhile, I was still job hunting and trying to find ways to keep my apartment.  Nothing was happening on the job front (no responses to my resume), and I was begging two temp agencies to send me anything. So I kept packing, researching and making plans. I started to look forward to life on the road. What an adventure!

One day, one of the temp agencies called. They had a two day stint for me. I couldn’t believe it!  At this point, I was thinking the money would go toward my on-the-road fund. Then I was called about another temp job, and another.  I was able to make my rent payment, and pay my bills. Gradually over the coming months, I found a full-time job, and pulled myself out of the slump. While living in my car could still happen, the possibility grew more and more distant. I felt both immensely relieved, and a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t be living a “strings-free” adventure (or getting the satisfaction of seeing if I could’ve done it).

While that whole experience was scary and exhilarating, I look back and wonder “What was I thinking?”  But I know I could’ve done it if I had to, though it would have been a lot rougher than I had imagined.  The fact that I’ve been very close to the possibility of being homeless, but was able to embrace it gives me a great deal of contentment, because if push comes to shove, I have a workable plan, a lot more knowledge, and much less fear. While I would be broke, I wouldn’t be broken.

I’ve had some relatively secure years since, but a lot of lean months.  A few pretty dicey times, that I was graciously helped through by friends and family. One day I hope to pay all these folks back, in one way or another. In the meantime, I try to pay it forward by helping others who are in dire straits whenever possible, with little donations on GoFundMe, etc. when I have a few rare extra bucks.  But I gotta confess: I’m still trying to get myself sorted out and finally get enough security to not have to worry about money all the damn time.

I’ve tried various budgeting and savings plans over the last few years, with only moderate success (as I always needed to use whatever I’d managed to save).  About 7 months ago, with downsizing at my company looming overhead, I decided to try again. This time, I’ve already managed to save more than I’d been able to in the last decade. And did I mention I’ve been unemployed for the last 3 months?

Let me show you how I did it, and how you can too.


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Squirrel Savvy

There’s nothing quite like having money to fall back on, is there?  Twenty million would sure be nice (and taxed), but the joy of finding $20 tucked away in a jar when you’re 3 days away from payday is the best feeling in the world.

What if you could always have that feeling of security, even if you’re scraping by right now, living hand to mouth?  What if instead of having $20 squirreled away, you had $200? $400?  Or enough to cover a future rent payment?  Wouldn’t that take a huge weight off your shoulders?

I’m here to tell you it’s definitely do-able, because I’m doing it myself.  I’ve been earning, winning, and saving towards my goals for the past 6 months, though it’s taken me years of trial and error to find the best methods.  Keep in mind it’s not easy (no get-rich-quick schemes here), but I hope you’ll find, like I have, that it’s a fascinating and rewarding ride.

Come join me on my journey, and let’s earn, win and sock away some dough!

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