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5 Easy Ways to Earn Mad Money

5 Easy Ways to Earn Mad Money

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    Even if you’ve trimmed your budget, it’s important to still have “mad money” to spend on things you enjoy. If your fun money account is dwindling, here are a few simple ways to earn some extra money or goods for a little of your time:

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    1. Bottle caps – Do you drink Coke products? If so, please tell me you’re not throwing away your bottle caps without entering the codes! I did so for many months before I decided to to go MyCokeRewards.com and start entering my codes. Since then I’ve earned several Blockbuster rentals (including some “movie night” deals that included popcorn and drinks), a t-shirt for a friend, and two magazine subscriptions. Now, admittedly, you’re better off drinking water or something cheaper than Coke products, but if you do buy them, you might as well put those caps to use.

    2. Gazelle – In my latest decluttering binge, I ran across an old cell phone. It was a Samsung and definitely not the latest model. I checked eBay to see what my chances were of selling the phone (nil), and then went to Gazelle and input the details of my phone. Gazelle gave me an estimate of what they’d pay for the phone provided it was in the condition in which I had described it, then sent me a prepaid envelope for my phone and charger. A short while later I received an email stating that they’d checked out my phone, and that it was just fine. They provided a code for $15 off Amazon products. I could have received the payout in the form of a check, but had the choice of Amazon or many other vendors. Now $15 isn’t much, but it’s more than I would have gotten had I just dropped my phone in a charity bin. Gazelle also takes your Amazon Kindle (generation 1 or 2), laptops, MP3 players, digital cameras, LCD monitors, satellite radios, external drives, GPS devices, gaming consoles, video games, PDAs, camcorders, movies, and more. They claim to wipe your electronics clean of personal information before reselling them. If you have some old electronics just sitting around, Gazelle is a painless way to make some money. They’ll even show you a graph of when’s the best time to sell to make the most money.

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    3. Surveys – Welcome to scam-land! Only trust those survey sites that you’ve heard about from word-of-mouth from someone you know and trust or a respected company or blog. This is how I discovered ERewards. It’s a legitimate site that I’ve used to earn rewards like a $15 certificate to Borders. I’m averaging about $10-15 a month in goodies. ERewards lets you know up front what a survey is worth, even if you disqualify part way through (which earns you a lesser amount). The downside is that if you’re like me and aren’t a frequent spender on hot items (flat screen TVs, cars, etc.), you might not qualify for many surveys; however, you’ll still earn partial credit. That partial credit adds up quickly. Other downsides: Their surveys can take longer than the time estimates they give you (I usually complete the surveys casually while watching TV). A search of the Internet finds some angry people reporting that their points were once wiped away, but I haven’t experienced anything like this. Other survey sites to check out: PineCone Research and MySurvey.com. With all of the survey sites you research, just be sure to read the terms of service and make sure you’re comfortable with their privacy policy.

    4. Half.com – I still encounter people who haven’t heard of or used Half.com, so I thought I’d better include this one. Half.com has a very simple interface for posting and pricing your books, movies, music, and games for sale. It’s not an auction; you’ll receive an email when someone has purchased your item. If you notice things that aren’t selling, you can easily switch to “repricing mode” and reduce the prices. It’s a good way to declutter and make some extra money.

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    5. Research companies – A friend once invited me to come along to an event at a research company. For an hour of my time, I sat in a room with other people and was presented with two Arby’s sandwiches. We were given checklists that had us grading the aesthetic appeal of the buns, the “mouthfeel,” and so on. It took an hour. I left with a full stomach and a $30 check in my hand. On my way out, I asked to be placed on their mailing list for other research. Do a search of the web or your local phone book for research companies in your area. Place some calls to find which ones are open to public testers, and request that they add your name to the list.

    Do you have some tried-and-true ways to easily earn extra dough? Please share in the comments!

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    Last Updated on August 15, 2018

    30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

    30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

    Summertime can be a real strain on your wallet. The sun is out, there are people to see, places to be; it’s no wonder you might be short of funds during these sunny months. Not everything has to cost you an arm and a leg.

    Take some time to go through this list of 20 cheap summer activities and make some realistic goals to complete as many as you can.

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    1. Visit a strawberry festival

    Summer is prime time for tasting strawberries. More often than not, an area that grows strawberries will have a strawberry festival. Indulge yourself in strawberry pies, jams, cakes and more!

    2. Have a picnic

    Take your partner or your family to the local park and enjoy a relaxing picnic. Designate each person to bring one food item of their choice to add to the fun.

    3. Camp in your back yard

      The summer heat can sometimes make it hard to sleep. Why not enjoy the heat outside in the yard? Pitch a tent or gaze into the night sky.

      4. Take long walks

      Discover something new where you live. Take the afternoon off from your chores and go for a long walk. You may be surprised by what you discover.

      5. Break a world record

      Breaking a world record doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You could even break one on your lunch hour. Give it a go!

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      6. Go on a bike ride

      The number of bike paths on roads in big cities has increased dramatically over the years. Take advantage, and enjoy the summer breeze.

      7. Join a gym class

        The gym is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but why not go with a friend a join a class? Spinning, yoga and step classes are always more fun with friends, and a lot of gyms allow you to pay-as-you-go.

        8. Find a new hobby

        The summer is the perfect time to find a new hobby. Serotonin (our body’s natural “happy” hormone) is produced by the sunshine and will be at a yearly high, which is great for when we want to tackle something new.

        9. Join a sports team

        Not all sports teams are competitive and require huge amounts of your time. Join in the fun with like-minded people, get fit, stay healthy and make some friends along the way.

        10. Make a slip ‘n slide

          Gather your friends, some plastic sheeting, a hose, washing up liquid if desired, and make a huge slip ‘n slide just like these guys. Granted, yours won’t be as big, but you get the idea… it’s fun!

          11. Make a treasure hunt for your kids

          Today’s digital world sees our children more often than not playing inside than outside. Why not create a sense of adventure by making a treasure hunt? Only rule? It has to be outside.

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          12. Visit a free festival

          Towns and cities are awash with free festivals, with themes from film to science. Scout your local area and discover something new.

          13. Visit the zoo

            Let’s face it: we love animals. While browsing news websites and social media networks you’re bound to come across a few pictures of cats. Take a trip to your local zoo for a better experience.

            14. Take a road trip

            Enjoy the open road with a few friends and take a road trip somewhere–anywhere. Just go out and enjoy the sunshine!

            15. Play ultimate frisbee in the park

              Frisbee is always great fun down the park, but why not turn it into more of a competitive sport by playing ultimate frisbee?

              16. Make your own ice cream

              Ice cream is a very versatile dessert. Make a sandwich, enjoy a cone, or simply just enjoy a bowl full. Better yet, making your own ice cream allows you to create any flavor you want.

              17. Invite your neighbors over for a BBQ

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                When was the last time you invited your neighbors over? Do you even know them? Now’s your chance. Just ask each person to bring a food item so costs don’t mount up for you.

                18. Get a summer job

                For many students, summer is the time for relaxation and fun. But who said earning money and being productive isn’t fun? You only get out what you put into a situation.

                19. Attend a charity event

                Attending a charity event is a great way to raise funds and awareness for a cause, meet new people, and generally have a good time. Search for your local charity event today.

                20. Visit a national park

                National parks are a great way to explore nature and learn something new. You could even volunteer and make a difference in helping restore natural habitats.

                21. Visit your local comedy club

                  Local comedy clubs are extremely underrated. They are cheap to attend and no doubt you’ll have a barrel of laughs.

                  22. Make your own hammock

                    Hammocks are very relaxing, are perfect for summer afternoons and are surprisingly easy to make.

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                    23. Read in your new hammock

                    Now you have your very own hammock, the only thing left to do is enjoy it. Grab your favorite book and read to your heart’s content.

                    24. Watch a movie outside

                    Movies are great. Relaxing outside in the evening is great. Put them together and you’ve got a perfect combination. In D.C, Maryland and Virginia this summer, for example, you can enjoy a huge number of movies outside.

                    25. Take a hike

                      Hikes are a great way to keep fit and see more of Mother Nature. There are countless trails available for you to explore. Why not try some this summer?

                      26. Learn how to fly a kite

                      As a child, you probably had a kite and haven’t touched it since. Why not dust it off and attempt to fly it? It’s tricky, but well worth the challenge.

                      27. Work out at the park

                      American cities are full of parks with ample space for a work out session. No doubt you’ll be happier to work out in the sun rather than a crowded gym.

                      28. Take your dog to the beach

                        One of the many joys of owning a dog is taking him or her for long walks during the summertime. This joy is enhanced when visiting the beach, for both you and your dog.

                        29. Make a summer smoothie

                        Healthy, delicious and perfect for the summer. Not only that, there are countless recipes ready for you to try.

                        30. Attend a free yoga session at the beach

                        No experience needed and all skill levels are welcome. Take yourself and a buddy down to the beach and try some yoga. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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