Level 146: Highlights from the year

kiddiekayaking
(photo by George Cavanaugh)

  • We fell in love with kayaking (and so did our grandchildren!)
  • We took out several trees giving us enough sun to start a successful organic garden.
  • We came up with the idea of playing the Money Game and have nearly $6,500 to show for half a year of playing.
  • We found an incredible place to camp at Grayton Beach where we can kayak out to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • I found this resource on prayer by Tim Keller which has absolutely changed my life.

Today’s post comes with a few more deposits to the Money Game. $125 is our regularly scheduled monthly deposit that comes at the end of the month and $120 as I’m forgoing getting my hair done again. I’ll probably keep this up until I master sales. Today’s deposit is $245.

Several people have emailed me privately saying they’ve begun leveling up. Another emailed me about her ideas to earn more money. I’m so excited for you all and your messages are inspiring my goals to do more next year. Thank you so much for taking your time to share. I sincerely hope you achieve more than you would have dreamed and that this next year is your best yet.

Level Completed: 146 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $646.10
Total Balance: $6,406.86
Our Money Game fund has increased 11.2% so far this month.

$106.38 is needed to reach the next level.

Levels 1 – 30

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

These levels can be reached by most just by digging around for some change. If I had started this when I was a single mom, it would have been extremely challenging. We didn’t have any extra money or time. Try asking yourself how you would come up with $5 in the next few hours if someone’s life depended on it. Don’t stop until you come up with at least 4 or things. If you can, keep going writing down every idea you get no matter how dumb it may seem. Extra points if they are funny and make you laugh.

Now go through the list and ask yourself why you wouldn’t do any of them right now. My answer is usually my pride. Sometimes, it’s time. I could do it once for $5 to keep someone alive but I don’t want to do this every day to keep a few extra dollars coming in.  

Work on the ideas you have left and ask yourself what you can do to overcome the obstacles. As you work on this, you may come up with more ideas. You may also realize you have the perfect idea but you don’t know how to let people know what you do.

Here are a few of mine that may help to get your Money Game going:

Share ibotta with your friends and family – it’s an easy share as you’ll get $5 and they’ll get $10. You can earn $10 just by signing up and using ibotta here.

Assemble ikea furniture for someone you know (or any other brand).

Are you good at washing and detailing cars?

Are your friends going nuts with elderly relatives needing computer help? Offer to teach them computer skills for a fee.

Have a yard sale. Better yet, buy some undervalued things at other yard sales and sell them again at yours for a profit.

Bake something and post it on Facebook “I’m practicing cake decorating and made more than we can eat. Does anyone want to buy this cake for $25?”

Use your skills to automate a bedroom lamp using an Amazon Echo device and a WeMo switch for someone for a fee.

Tell your friends you made a bet with someone that you can earn $5 before they do. You can sell this, this, or that or you can do this or this. Would anyone like to take you up on it?

(By the way, if you have a gift of making writing or posting pictures that make people laugh, these Facebook posts are the place to do it. DD#2 sold a University of Tennessee shirt by joking around on eBay that she couldn’t even give it away.)

Is there something you make that’s delicious and everyone knows it? Put it out there. “Hey if anyone would like to buy one of my cheesecakes, I’m selling them for $xx.”

It’s fine to let people know you want to earn some extra money for a special project. Offer to babysit.  (Have you ever been offended because you learned a friend is working harder?) How about posting this on FB? “I want to earn extra money while feeling like I’m 10 again. Let me play with your kids for $10 an hour.” (Or the going rate in your area.)

How about being a Khan Academy coach? A personal finance coach?

Facebook is great for stuff like this (as long as you don’t flood your wall with constant ads for your products or services) because people aren’t put on the spot. If they want it, they’ll respond. If no one responds to you, then you may have some work to do on your product, your service and/or your personality.

For me – I want to focus on selling our stuff and I’d love to tutor kids in computer programming (I have a BS in Computer Science) as a way to help motivate them in their basic reading and math classes. I’m not sure how to find my customers and I want to explore that.

What will it be for you?

Today’s post closes with a power up of $57.09 since we came in under the fuel budget for the week.

Level Completed: 145 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $401.10
Total Balance: $6,161.86
Our Money Game fund has increased 7% so far this month.

$41.22 is needed to reach the next level

Another ibotta power up

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

We’re back from traveling over the holidays having treasured this time with our family. There are no words for what this means to me. We didn’t get to see all our kids and I hope to be heading to Seattle in the near future.

ibotta was very good to us this December. I don’t expect to see this much in regular months as we bought foods for holiday get togethers that we don’t normally use.

I learned that the total number of transactions can count towards a bonus not just the amount of the rebates. So from now on, I’m going to make sure I use every produce offer and that I take time to check ibotta for possible deals we can use before I head to the store. At some point, I received a $20 bonus. Now that I know I there exist, (you can click on an icon in the upper left hand corner of the app to see them) I’ll be checking them too. I can honestly say I didn’t buy more than what we buy for Christmas entertaining and that rebate was a pretty sweet.

I also learned that I adore Kashi quinoa sweet potato bowls. Our Kroger has them often on sale for $3.79. The ibotta rebate was another dollar. That’s way cheaper than a 4 count kiddie meal at ChickFilA. The Kashi bowls taste great and I think they are healthier.

I just transferred $69.50 to PayPal from ibotta and I’m very happy with this power up.

You can earn $10 just by signing up and using
ibotta here.

Level Completed: 145 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $344.01
Total Balance: $6,104.77
Our Money Game fund has increased 5.97% so far this month.

$98.31 is needed to reach the next level

(This post contains an affiliate link which means I may receive compensation at no cost to you.)

The secret to growing your money

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New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

The Cliff notes

Having a goal and writing it down every day makes your mind figure out a way to make it happen.

The details

I’m a goal setter. I thrive on having goals and I get depressed if I feel like I don’t have one that I really want to achieve.

On the other hand, I’m a poor finisher. I’m better at planning than execution. One reason I started blogging about this idea was I knew it would spur me on. I thought if I really pushed, I’d figure out how to come out with an extra $250 or so a month.  I thought it would be slow but that eventually the results would be worth it. I also hoped the monthly amount would grow.

Here’s what I didn’t expect: I made myself write what was achieved and what was needed to get to the next level with every post. I also posted every day except for a short break when there was a sudden death in our extended family and for the recent holidays.

Brian Tracy teaches that writing your goal down every day will engage your subconscious mind to work on how to make your goal a reality. If you aren’t convinced, try this out and prepare to be amazed.

I used to play Sudoku at night to try to turn off my mind so I could sleep. I’d pick a level that required some effort and would fall asleep trying to solve the puzzle. What would surprise me was picking up my phone in the morning and looking at the puzzle. I could see new moves instantly. My mind kept working on the puzzle while I slept. There it was morning after morning. It was amazing. How could my mind even remember all those numbers and all those blanks? I couldn’t consciously remember them even after trying to solve the puzzle for over half an hour.

If your mind can latch on to 81 squares of “meaningless” numbers and blank squares to hand you an answer when you wake up, think of what will happen if you actively work on something you truly want!

I think this is the secret and the reason why we found thousands of dollars instead of hundreds. I started to see all kinds of places where we were leaving money on the table. I had no idea how quickly it would build. It didn’t happen the way I thought it would but it happened.

If you are getting ready to start growing your own money fund, just write the exact amount of money you need to get to the next level. Keep your eyes open for any way that money might come to you. Your mind will figure it out. Once you hit that goal, rewrite it to fit your new circumstances. Your new goal will be a bit bigger and you’ll have more money to work with.

You’ll see my new goal at the end of every post on this blog.

Level Completed: 145 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $274.51
Total Balance: $6,035.27
Our Money Game fund has increased 4.8% so far this month.

$167.81 is needed to reach the next level

Alexa – “Tree on!”

PointsettaChristmasLights.jpg

(photo by George Cavanaugh)

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

    George used Amazon Echo to automate our Christmas tree lights. It can be voice activated using an Echo device or phone activated (which will work even if we’re out of town). You’ll need a WeMo plug, your smart phone and an Amazon Echo device.

    It took George about an hour to learn the set up, work out the glitches (my phone software was out of date) and get it working. He said he could install one from scratch now in 10 minutes.

    Why should you care? Because this could be an amazing little side hustle that isn’t seasonal. There are plenty of people who aren’t tech savy but would still the benefits of voice activating one or more of their lights, door locks, etc.

    After you master this skill and have some customers, you could learn how to enable the Alexa skill “Good Night”. This one will enable as many devices as you like turning off the lights, locking the automated doors, etc. Just figure out your pricing for a package deal and tack on an hourly rate for any extras they may want to add.

    George bought two things today that qualified for ibotta rebates and $4 was credited to our ibotta account. It has to add up to at least $20 before we can do another transfer.

    You can earn $10 just by signing up and using
    ibotta here.

    Level Completed: 145 out of 251
    Amount Deposited this month: $274.51
    Total Balance: $6,035.27
    Our Money Game fund has increased 4.8% so far this month.

    $167.81 is needed to reach the next level

    (This post contains an affiliate link which means I may receive compensation at no cost to you.)

5 ways to keep holiday food costs down

snowman-fireplace

(photo by George Cavanaugh)

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

  • If you do one treat really well, you’ll save buying a ton of different ingredients. Don’t try to a bake a bunch of different cookies. Nail your favorite and just make more to pass around. This tip sames time too and if you’re like me, time is a premium during this busy time of year.
  • Eating out may be a bigger temptation when you’re running around  doing a lot of Christmas shopping. Make something you can come home to and promise each other drinks by the fire or something (if eating out is your thing – knock yourself out and consider using ibotta to get a cash rebate while you’re at it).
  •  I resisted spending extra on rich treats by reminding myself I want to do more than save money. I want to stay healthy. I haven’t even had a cold this season and that’s cause the only treat we’ve had since late summer was a tiny spoon of dessert that was served to us over the Thanksgiving weekend. Honestly it was so sweet, it didn’t even taste that great. Am I the only one who gets sick when I eat crap?
  • Look for sales on typical holiday meats like turkey and ham These will usually feed a family for more than one meal so your dollars go even further.
  • Limit truly special meals to one or two truly special days – Thanksgiving and Christmas. (Have you ever woke on Christmas so sick of all the rich food that you didn’t enjoy it on the holiday itself?)

I used every one of these tips to help us come in under budget and add more to our Money Game fund. I hope they can help you get more too.

Level Completed: 145 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $274.51
Total Balance: $6,035.27
Our Money Game fund has increased 4.8% so far this month.

$167.81 is needed to reach the next level

Level 145: Finishing it up with November’s expense check

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

George’s monthly expense check came in at $144 and we only went over on fuel once. The grocery budget made it up that week so the whole check is going to get deposited in our Money Game fund.

Level Completed: 145 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $274.51
Total Balance: $6,035.27
Our Money Game fund has increased 4.8% so far this month.

$167.81 is needed to reach the next level

An ibotta power up

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Yesterday I shared about making money using the ibotta app. This morning, I had a notification that I earned $6.25 in rebates yesterday and an extra $5 for completing a grocery store challenge. I poked around and there are lots of extra incentives I didn’t know about.

For example,I love to sew and I can get an extra $5 for completing 2 transactions at Jo-Anns. They don’t just sell sewing supplies. At this time of the year, they offer holiday decor.

The Money Game will keep you grounded as you play. I found myself looking at a few things with hefty rebates ($8 on 3 bottles of moderately priced wine for example). I asked myself if I really wanted or needed it. Actually I don’t want the extra calories and we’re stocked for any holiday visitors. The Money Game grounds me. If I can spend $45 on wine we don’t want or need to get $8, why not just move $45 to the Money Game and call it good? My old self would have just taken the money from the Christmas category to buy the wine. My new self will wait to see if we come in under budget after Christmas is over. If we do, I’ll just move those funds over to the Money Game fund.

You can earn $10 just by signing up and using
ibotta here.

You have to earn at least $20 to tranfer money out. Today’s notification topped that and I transferred $25.75 in cash to Paypal and then to our checking account. By the way, Paypal notified me just a few minutes later that I had received payment from ibotta.

Level Completed: 144 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $130.51
Total Balance: $5,891.27
Our Money Game fund has increased 2.3% so far this month.

$16.43 is needed to reach the next level.

(This post contains an affiliate link.)

Earning cash back with ibotta

ibotta_white_lg

This app rocks! It pays you cash rebates for things you are probably buying anyway. Look for offers that interest you and then use the app to scan the bar code and snap a picture of the receipt after you purchase it. They credit your account with the rebate dollars. Every time your account hits $20 or more, you can transfer the cash to Paypal. I plan on moving the money I earn to our Money Game fund and I’ll report on it when I do.

Sign up for ibotta here and earn an extra $10

It’s made shopping more of a game for me. I’m pleased to see that there are  rebates for produce and healthy items we buy like almond milk. You’ll find rebates for lots of grocery items, beer and wine, personal care items like shampoo and body wash and things for kids. Today I saw a deal for a rebate at American Eagle and Banana Republic. The number and types of offers keep expanding. You can search by type of item and also by store.

Be sure to read the details of each deal. Some require buying more than one item or combining two different items. For example, I got a $4 rebate on a six pack of craft beer that George likes but I had to buy oranges too.  The beer was on sale which really sweetened the deal. We needed fruit and I love having oranges on the kitchen counter in the winter.

I did a deal on yogurt today stacking the Kroger coupon, the Kroger sale price and the ibotta rebate. I actually made 39 cents on that deal.

Keep checking your ibotta app on your phone as they offer hot deals and extra incentives from time to time.

The link above is an affiliate link which means I get $5 if you sign up (at no cost to you). You’ll get an extra $10 when signing on using my link if you start using the app. You’ll also be offered a chance to share ibotta with your friends and family and they’ll give you $5 for every person who signs on.

Level Completed: 144 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $104.76
Total Balance: $5,865.52
Our Money Game fund has increased 1.8% so far this month.

$42.18 is needed to reach the next level.

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Money Game 101

pineneedles

(photo by George Cavanaugh)

I keep asking myself “how can someone start earning 5% on their first $5 right out of the gate?”

You can do it the very next time you buy groceries or something else you need. Just use a coupon or shop a sale on at least one item.

This is the challenge:

  1. Take $5 and set it aside either in a change jar or a bank account (this is your Money Game fund).
  2. Print this chart.
  3. On your next regularly scheduled shopping trip for things you’ll have to buy anyway, use a coupon or sale to save the money needed to level up.
  4. When you get home, either put that amount in the change jar or transfer it from your checking account to your savings account.
  5. Check off or color in the level to show that you completed it.

Don’t go broke saving money. Get these savings from what you would have spent anyway. The only thing I’m asking you to do is to actually take the money you saved and put it into your Money Game fund.

Now repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 every time you have to buy something. This should be enough to get you through Level 30 without having to do anything else at all. By then, you’ll have about $20 saved up and we’ll talk before then I promise.

While you go through this process, give yourself huge credit. Remind yourself that you just grew your $5 by at least a quarter. There isn’t a bank I know of that would pay you that much interest on $5 in a month let alone in one day. Keep growing it and keep giving yourself credit. That alone will help you get more ideas. The progress you are making is real and you will have real money at the end of thirty levels to prove it.

Many of you have have told me you’re thinking about playing the Money Game. I’m challenging you – start playing it! It’s going to cost you a little time and trouble to track your savings and progress. You’re going to need that skill as your money grows so get busy!!

On our own home front, fuel went over for the week and food came in way under. We keep stocking our pantry and freezer and this week, we didn’t need much food at all. I caught up fuel and that still left a nice power up of $40.21.

Level Completed: 144 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $104.76
Total Balance: $5,865.52
Our Money Game fund has increased 1.8% so far this month.

$42.18 is needed to reach the next level.