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From the day she turned 3, my daughter had her heart set on going to Disney World for her birthday. She desperately wanted to spend her 4th birthday there and I knew that there was no chance that my amazing, but slightly cheap, husband was going to let us take another trip there. Even if he wanted to say yes, our bank account was screaming a resounding NO. That’s when I set out to make enough extra money to take my family of 6 to Disney World.
As a stay-at-home mom with no childcare for my little ones, I knew getting a regular job was out. But after tons of research and experimenting, I finally made enough extra money to take my family to Disney World and I’m going to show you how you can too.
Now this post may be a little long because there is a ton of information and details that I need to go over with you, but stick with it. I promise that everything I did to earn enough extra money to take my family of 6 to Disney World can be done by you. I hate it when I see headlines like this and then get to the post only to find a bunch of things that the average stay-at-home mom would never be able to do. This is not at all like that!! The things that I did to earn enough extra money to take my family to Disney World are all pretty easy to start doing right now and will eventually have you eating Mickey ice cream bars in front of Cinderella’s castle.
I guess I should start by warning all of you fellow moms about an epic, colossal mistake I made a few years back. So, we planned this huge trip to Disney World for our kids and we planned to give to them for Christmas. We had already paid for most of it and had everything set up when Rob got laid off from his job (you can read about his great advice on facing a lay-off here). Not knowing how long he would be out of work, we wanted to cancel the trip. But we didn’t get trip insurance (Note to self: ALWAYS GET THE INSURANCE) so the best we could do was to delay it for a few months.
Once Rob got settled at a new job, we decided to go for my older daughter’s 6th birthday. Great idea, right? WRONG! Epic mistake. Never take one child to Disney World for their birthday if you have other children! It will become a birthday expectation. So, this is why I had to find a way to make enough extra money to take my family back to Disney World for my other daughter’s 4th birthday.
You know what they say about a mom on a mission…they can’t be stopped. Well, I was a stay-at-home mom on a serious mission and despite everyone telling me that there was no way I could earn enough extra money to take my family to Disney World, I was not going to stop trying until I did!
I started by figuring out exactly how much money I needed to make. At the time of my trip (and rates change constantly), here is a break down of what I needed for our 5- day trip. I should note that my youngest was only 2 at the time of our trip so we didn’t need park tickets for her. We also were extremely limited in our hotel choices because there are very few hotels that can accommodate a family of 6. We chose the Port Orleans Riverside because they offer rooms that accommodate 5 and an infant (under 3). If our youngest was over 3, we would have had to find a family suite or get 2 rooms at one of the value hotels. We also always choose the dining plan due to our family’s dietary restrictions. The table service restaurants are great at accommodating restrictions whereas we found it is a lot more difficult at the quick service locations:
4 nights at Port Orleans Riverside: $242/night= $968
4 days of park tickets: $74/day*4 days* 5 people= $1480
Dining Plan: $1111.87
We planned to drive so I assumed we would need around $800 for gas/tolls/food/possible lodging during travel which brought us to $4259.87. I decided to set my goal to $5000 in order to accommodate additional food and souvenirs and a trip to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for my birthday girl.
So, I needed to make $5000 in a just under a year with no job….how was I going to do that??
I started researching and reading tons of articles on work from home jobs. Most of them were pretty much saying the same things over and over. Sell a direct marketing product like Arbonne, Lularoe, It Works, 31 Bags, etc. I had seen tons and tons of my FB friends promoting whatever it was that they were selling that week and I had no desire to sell stuff to my friends. I dismissed the idea of selling a direct marketing product (MLM) at first and kept looking for other options.
Start a Blog
I came across a bunch of articles on passive income that suggested starting a blog. I never really thought about starting a blog before nor did I think I had anything interesting to say at all. But I decided to give it a try. My first blog was actually not this blog and I no longer keep that blog, but blogging has been a great way to earn extra money.
There are a few things you absolutely need to know though:
- Making money with a blog DOES NOT happen overnight. You have to give it a few months.
- You will NOT earn oodles of money for doing nothing. Blogging take work and time. But it can be done while you are home with your kids and is really flexible.
- You pretty much get out what you put in. If you put in no time, you likely will make no money. If you invest your time in learning and posting and building your blog up, you will make money. NOTE: Unlike many other posts on blogging, I am not promising that you will earn a fulltime income from your blog. I’m sure some people are but in the years I have been blogging, I have not even come close.
But even though I am not earning a full time income from it, blogging is a great way to earn extra money as a stay at home mom. In fact, when I saving to take my family to Disney World, in less than a year, I earned close to $1800 from my blog. However, there were some expenses to running the blog, so I only included $1400 of my blog money towards my Disney World trip fund.
So, how can you start a blog and start earning…quickly. Here are a couple simple steps you can take to hit the ground running and avoid the many, many mistakes that I made at first!
1. Pick your blog name and get the domain. This should cost you like $10-20. If the domain costs a lot, it is because someone else owns it and is reselling it for a premium price. Pick a different name/domain if that’s the case. You can get your domain for free through Bluehost (see #2 below).
2. Sign up for hosting. Your web hosting service is important! It will affect the speed of your site and your ability to make changes on the back end. Before switching to Bluehost (who are down right amazing), I was paying a ton to use a different hosting service and my site would always crash! I also kept getting error messages when I tried to make edits to my site and I was downright frustrated. Bluehost makes everything simple and easy, its cheap and they offer great customer service.
3. Set up your blog using WordPress. You can use a number of free themes for your blog through WordPress, which is what I started with but editing those can be hard if you are not super tech savvy. I eventually signed up to use Divi themes for my blog because I didn’t have the technical skills to edit my free Word Press blog. Divi is super easy to use and you do not need technical skills at all.
4. Sign up for Pinterest: This is absolutely NECESSARY! I cannot stress enough how important Pinterest will be to your blog. Other social media like Facebook and Instagram are great but they aren’t really going to help you make money quickly from a blog. I was never a big fan of Pinterest, but it is EVERYTHING in the world of blogging. Without Pinterest, I don’t think anyone would have even found my blog and you probably wouldn’t be reading this post.
I cannot overstate how important it is to understand Pinterest for business in order to make money with a blog. I finally found an AFFORDABLE Pinterest course (many of them are very pricey) and I took it. GAME CHANGER!
I learned everything I needed to know on how to get my blog really up and running and how to start earning! If you are serious about earning extra money through blogging, you absolutely should take a Pinterest course. Pinterest Ninja is the best course out there for the price! It is comprehensive and constantly updated. Once you buy it, they give you all updates for free for life! And you get access to an exclusive FB group that allows you to promote your blog pretty much every day. I have learned so much from that group alone. I saw many courses priced at several hundred dollars and Pinterest Ninjas is only $39.99.
5. Sign your blog up for affiliate marketing. If you do not know what affiliate marketing is, simply put it’s where you earn money when people buy products and services through your links. Affiliate links do not cost the buyer anything extra and you earn a small commission for referring the buyer. New bloggers are kind of limited in the products that will approve them as affiliates because many want established blogs with a large following.
As new blog, I started with Share a Sale. They offer tons and tons of merchants that you can sign on to be an affiliate with. It is best to try to find products and services that you believe in to sell. Share a sale has so many options that have great products for every niche. Many will even send you free samples to try out the products. This is how I discovered Kidstir and fell in love with it!
In my first month on share a sale, I earned $40. It doesn’t sound like much, but I was really excited!! I also signed up to be an Amazon affiliate and to be an affiliate for several other products. If you have a product that you really like, try searching to see if they offer an affiliate program. Many products do!
After you do these 5 things, your blog is pretty much ready to start earning. You should aim to write posts that help people and to make genuine recommendations for services and products that they will enjoy. As I mentioned, I earned close to $1800 in less than a year, mostly through affiliate marketing and I know that you can too!!
Sell Your Stuff!
This is an obvious one but not something people always think can bring in much money. That is not true AT ALL! If you are reading this post, you most likely have children and used kid’s stuff can definitely equal serious cash. Not to mention that living simply is good for us is so many ways! Since I was trying to make so much extra money, I looked into selling my stuff, my husband’s stuff and extra household items like electronics as well.
For my kid’s stuff I decided to sell at one of those semi-annual consignment sales where you tag your items and bring them to the sale. I ended up earning $340 from the consignment sale alone! That is after the up-front costs of registration ($14), safety pins and hangers.
For my stuff and my husband’s stuff, I mostly sold on the free FB marketplace. I didn’t really have all that much stuff to sell of mine and my hubby’s so I only made around $85.
For my used electronics that were just sitting in a drawer, I used Gazelle and made $200!
Gazelle is an easy and quick way to earn money on your used electronics. They don’t pay you a ton for them but, if they are just sitting in a drawer and you are trying to earn enough extra money to take your family to Disney World, it’s awesome! Since I have so many kids and have done a few phone carrier switches, I have a ton of used electronics that have fallen in favor to newer ones. I sold 2 iphone 5’s and got $25 each for them, a generation 2 ipad for which I got $35, 2 ipod touches that I got $50 each for, a Samsung tablet for $15.
After that, I cleaned out my basement and sold a bunch of household items on Offer Up. I ended up making $90 there and I also hosted a yard sale and made another $75.
For those of you keeping track, this gave me a total of $790 from selling my stuff.
Do side jobs on Upwork
Between blogging and selling my stuff, I nearly half way to my goal of earning $5000 in extra money to take my family to Disney World but I still had a long way to go. With nothing left to sell from my house, I had to find other ways of making some serious cash. I saw some suggestions to using Upwork.
Upwork is basically a place for freelancers to offer up services and a place for people looking for services to place “help wanted” ads. It is free to use and you can find “jobs” doing just about anything from virtual assisting to making pins for bloggers to on Pinterest (in case you followed step 1 and became a Pinterest master). If you see a job posted that you think you can do, you can submit a proposal offering your services and letting the person know how you can help. Payments are hassle free and handled through Upwork.
Since I was limited in my childcare, I had to look for jobs that didn’t require a lot of time. I had a background in recruiting and saw a ton of help wanted in reviewing resumes and conducting phone interviews, I bid on several jobs in that area that were just a few hours a week. Most jobs paid around $20 per hour or a flat fee of around $125. I ended up earning $1450 through Upwork in about 10 months.
Use Ibotta and Ebates:
I was a little late to the party on this one and most of you are probably already using these great money saving apps but, if you aren’t, you absolutely should be. Ebates basically gives you cash back for online purchases you make and with 4 kids, I do A LOT of online shopping. The percentage of cash back can be anywhere from 2% to 5% depending on where you are shopping. Follow this link and get $10 CASH BACK just for signing up!
Ibotta gives you cash back for grocery purchases that you make and has offers for everywhere from Walmart to your local grocery store. I love ibotta because getting your money is so easy. All you have to do is snap a pic of your receipt on your phone and submit it. You can withdraw the money once you hit $20 bucks, which doesn’t take long, especially since they’ll give you $10 FREE for signing up when you follow this link!
Sell a direct marketing product:
So, I know at the beginning of this post, I said I didn’t want to break down and sell a direct marketing product, but my blog was taking a while to bring in cash (remember I said I made a ton of mistakes at first) and I had only gotten like 2 jobs on Upwork and I was panicked thinking that I could not possibly make the $5000 I needed. I broke down and decided I had to sell a direct marketing product. Let me start by saying, I am terrible at it, and was even worse when I started! I hate selling stuff to my “friends” on social media but I was a mom on a mission, so I had to!
There is only direct marketing or MLM as some call them, product that I buy so, of course, I chose that one. They are a lot different than a real MLM though and you don’t really get paid to convince others to sell underneath you (so that is not at all what I am trying to get you to do). What I am trying to do is suggest that you shouldn’t discount selling an MLM. They can bring you in some extra cash for sure!
You SHOULD choose one that you feel good representing and recommending. I chose Poofy Organics because I love their products and their values are in line with mine. I wouldn’t have chosen to sell Lularoe because that just isn’t my style. You should also choose one that doesn’t require a huge startup investment. It was only $40 to sign on with Poofy Organics but some others require you to spend a lot more. Do some research. Make sure that you are not required to recruit a certain number of people to sell under you, unless you don’t mind doing that sort of thing.
Overall, I was able to make $1200 in a year of direct marketing sales (hooray for Christmas season) and introduce my social media to great products that they actually love!
If you are still there and keeping track, I earned $5072 and was able to take my daughter to Disney World for her birthday. She had the best day and we made unforgettable memories. It was amazing to be at Disney World and not have to worry about the financial burden of the trip. It really was a dream come true!
I can’t promise that all of you will make the same exact amounts I did but, who knows, you may make more! If you hit any roadblocks or need some advice, feel free to send me a message.
And as always, sharing is caring, so be sure to share this with all of your friends!
Thanks for stopping by and hope to see ya’ real soon!!
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