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Some questions - thrift forums, turning a spare room into cash, part-time work

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

OK, so I recently discovered that our finances are down the plughole. Fun fun fun. I have some questions.

 

1. Is there are a really good thrift/frugality forum out there somewhere, preferably family/crunchy-oriented? No offense to you fine ladies, but MDC is pretty dead lately. I found an ERE forum ("early retirement extreme"), which was fascinating, but we're not really doing ERE and besides, most of the forum members didn't have kids (by choice, for financial reasons), and much of the lifestyle advice doesn't really apply to our situation.

 

2. Our flatmate/boarder is moving out in a couple of weeks. I'm honestly not sure if we'll be worse or better off financially after he goes. He eats a LOT and is on the Atkin's diet, which involves endless large hunks of meat and lots and lots of veggies. No filling him up with rice or pasta! Anyway, we're all currently living in one room (DH, me, DD and DS), and while DD could theoretically move into her own room, she doesn't really need or want to. So we have a spare room.

 

Any thoughts on putting it to good use? DH doesn't want another flatmate. I thought of renting it out for storage space, but we don't have a security system (nor can we afford one!), so I doubt anyone would really want it. My other idea was to have a go at buying, redoing and selling old/cheap furniture, in which case I could use the room to store the stuff and possibly as a "workshop". But that all depends on me learning to, ah, redo furniture. :p

 

3. Vaguely on the same theme: we could really use some extra income. I SAH with two kids (three-and-a-half and nine weeks). DH works from home. I could potentially leave the kids for a few hours, but not all day (DH has to work, can't afford childcare, breastfeeding on demand, yadda yadda).

 

Is there some kind of job with part-time night shifts, like from 4-8AM or 8-12PM something?

 

What about super-casual work? I'm on the list to be a scrutineer for the NCEA exams for a local high school, which is awesome ($50 per exam, dead boring, but flexible and unskilled!); but that's only for two weeks in November. Anyone know anything about picking fruit? Could I do that in the early morning for a few hours? Mum suggested handing out political pamphlets, but there isn't an election coming up, and I'm not sure how I feel about supporting any particular party anyway! I used to work at the movies, and could probably get a job there again, but the night shifts are 5:30-9:30, which is the baby's fussiest and thirstiest time.

 

I feel like I must be missing something! I've looked up work-from-home stuff, but it's all the same few ideas over and over again, most of which won't work for me. I can't sell my own baking here due to health regulations, and that's my most impressive skill. I don't sew well enough, and DEFINITELY not fast enough, to make a profit selling things. I do write, freelance, but I've been sending out dozens of queries into the void with no response, so that's clearly not a reliable income-producer right now. Watching daycare kids would almost certainly end in bloodshed. I'm sadly lacking in housecleaning/yardwork skills. Medical transcription isn't really a SAHM thing here. I can play the piano, sort of, but not nearly well enough to teach. I have an English degree, for all the good it does me!

 

Any ideas? Thanks...

post #2 of 30

The first things that come to mind is childcare (maybe you could be a "backup" daycare for people) or delivering newspapers.  It seems like renting out a room would make the most sense since you've already done it - maybe make the boarder responsible for hi/her own food, though.

post #3 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by swede View Post

The first things that come to mind is childcare (maybe you could be a "backup" daycare for people) or delivering newspapers.  It seems like renting out a room would make the most sense since you've already done it - maybe make the boarder responsible for hi/her own food, though.



Okay - I see I didn't read close enough the first time.  Scratch the childcare.  Keep the newspaper delivery.  My friend did it for years before her kids woke up in the morning.  Be forewarned, though, it is 7 days a week, hard work.

 

post #4 of 30

My first thought is daycare or nanny.  Some cleaning companies need folks part time, evening etc.

Why is your roommate not responsible for his own food?

post #5 of 30

I worked overnights part time.  When I was the cashier I worked 10pm to 2am.  The money was good...$9 an hour and it is so skilled you need not even speak the language.  If you worked two nights a week  you would make about $250 a month.  A nice contribution.  and since they were so desperate for someone to fill this position (it is ridiculous boring) .

 

newspapers can also be good money.

post #6 of 30
Thread Starter 

Lilyka: Overnights doing what - a gas station or 24-hour supermarket or something? I'll do some ringing around this morning, see what's available. The trouble is I don't think I can manage full nights (like, 8PM to 5AM, or whatever a full night shift is); and I'm not sure most people would want a part-time night-shifter. But we shall see!

 

I'm looking into newspaper delivery (although it's an understatement to say it doesn't appeal! It's SO COLD here in the mornings! But that won't last forever, I guess...)

 

Quote:
Why is your roommate not responsible for his own food?

Ehh, that was the deal when he moved in. He was tossing up between moving in with us and someone else, and we wanted him (because we knew him, and the alternative was finding a stranger); we had a child and a not-so-fancy room, but on the other hand, I'm a good cook. And he liked the idea of not having to do his own meals (although he does cook for us all once a week). The trouble is, food prices have risen WAY up since then, plus the Atkins thing. He gives us an extra $10 a week for food since he started Atkinsing, but that only covers, like, extra meat for one or two meals. Anyway he moves out shortly, so it won't be an issue after that.

 

Renting out the room again really does make sense, doesn't it? The only trouble is, DH doesn't want to. In fact, DH is sort of the trouble with most of my plans. :p He doesn't want to move to a cheaper place, doesn't want to sell any of our (quite nice) furniture and replace it with cheap/free stuff, doesn't want me to get a job, doesn't want to look for a job himself... He's convinced his business will turn around, and maybe it will, but we're so close to the bone now that I don't really want to count on it. We wouldn't be in this mess if I'd probed more deeply into his "everything's fine" attitude towards our finances, which it turned out really meant "We're losing money, but I'm sure it'll pick up soon". But that's another post...

post #7 of 30
I also thought of daycare (you could use the extra room for nap times). Are you in a tourist area? Could you advertise the room as lodging for tourists?
post #8 of 30

Almost any retail store should have hours stocking shelves or being a cashier at odd times of the night, part-time. Lots of stocking jobs start around 6am and are done by 10am.

post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

Lilyka: Overnights doing what - a gas station or 24-hour supermarket or something? I'll do some ringing around this morning, see what's available. The trouble is I don't think I can manage full nights (like, 8PM to 5AM, or whatever a full night shift is); and I'm not sure most people would want a part-time night-shifter. But we shall see!

 

 

I worked at a large grocery store.  Stocking, cleaning and running the cash registers.   They were/are open to short shifts.  I started working 10-2  The regular shift is 10-6 or 7 or 8 or 9 or whenever we got done.  One guy always came in 12-6.  i know the manager would love to have some people who could work 2-6 (or whatever) and do the finish up shift (the reason we would get stuck there is because so many people cannot finish the shift but all the half shifts are the first half.).  They are surprisingly flexible.  Even in a tough economy it is hard to fill those shifts so they tend  to be more flexible.  Now I manage the Starbucks (in the same store) and I would love to have someone who could work from 5:30 -9:30 AM.  Especially on weekends.  Our bakers also start at 10PM and arrive at any point between 10 and 5am.  Delivery drivers  also have an early shift (we deliver groceries to people who order it and to several non profits with big accounts as well as produce snacks to all the elementary school students every day.) Theresa is a personal shopper and starts pulling orders around 6:00AM.  Some stores might offer this service even earlier.  She also processes all the food pantry and soup kitchen donations (baked goods) and has that done before 7:00.   You would be surprised how much is going on at a large grocery store between the hours of 10 and 7 LOL.  And the store I work at is pretty flexible for hours and such. 

 

I wouldn't work at the gas station because that just seems really dangerous, all alone and stuff.  

 

overnight babysitting is also an option that people need.  We have a couple of huge places here with third shifts.  Affordable after hours care is non existent.  I would think if you had an extra room you could easily take in a couple of kids overnight and hardly have to work.  Just be awake for pick up and drop off and if they wake in the night.

 

My friend used to work at a group home and only had to get up if a resident needed her.  So she slept through most of her shift.  and it paid most excellently.  SUBMIT
 

 

post #10 of 30
Thread Starter 

Lilyka: Those are some interesting ideas! Our flatmate works at the local (biggish) hospital; I'm thinking I might ask him to post an ad/inquiry thing on their intranet, to see if anyone would be interested in me sleeping over at his/her house as a kind of overnight nanny, with my baby. (He's pretty good at night - he wouldn't scream and wake up their kids.) Do you think anyone would go for that? I wouldn't want to do it every night of the week, but if there were single-parent doctors or nurses who had two night shifts a week, or something like that... It'd certainly be more fun than working at a supermarket. And I make pretty good pancakes and scrambled eggs. :p How much do you think I could charge for that? Per child, per night, per hour? I think I'd rather go to their house than have the kids come to mine - it'd be easier on the kids, and I wouldn't have to furnish the spare room.

 

Right now I'm trying to write an ad for my services as a tutor to 3-6-year-olds. I used to do ABA with a little boy with autism, and I taught him how to read and do pre-math and a lot of behavior, logic, cause-and-effect type stuff. I don't really want to do ABA proper again, but I wouldn't mind doing play/learning/behavioral tutoring with little kids; sort of remedial learning stuff. (I don't mind other people's kids in that context; they just make me nervous when they're running around in a daycare-type situation for many hours at a time.)

 

Then there's always the option of tutoring Uni students, but that market might be a bit flooded - hard to know. And I had a vague notion of sewing fancy tote bags for a "pretty things" gift-type shop in town, on a sale-or-return basis; but I'm not sure how much money I'd make on that, and as I say, my sewing skills could probably use a brush-up first.

 

Right; now I'm going to ask an editor if she'll let me write a humour column in her parenting magazine, on the basis of a few frivolous blog posts. Wish me luck. :p

post #11 of 30

Writing is a good idea. I really enjoy your writing style.  

 

I think a drop in nanny sort of thing is also excellent.  I think your baby would be fine too.  And I think you could charge quite a bit as well.  Overnight daycare is at a premium around here.  

 

Don't rule out university tutoring.  You would be very good at it and as a university student I was not inclined to ask my classmates for help.  They weren't that bright.  I would have rather sought help from  someone who had successfully graduated.

post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 

Well, I wrote up an ad for overnight nannying and sent it to my flatmate to put up on the intranet. I'm not sure if it's cheeky to ask to bring my baby along (although I was upfront about it) - I mean, I wouldn't mind, if I were the employer. DD would love it, actually. But it doesn't seem terribly professional. Still, I could charge a little less. I know a doctor and a couple of nurses; I'll ask them what hours night shifts usually are (is it standardised, I wonder?), and what the going rate is for overnight childcare. I looked the latter up on the internet and it seems to vary wildly, but $100 a night seemed pretty standard. That seems like a lot, though... do people really pay that?

 

Quote:
Don't rule out university tutoring.  You would be very good at it and as a university student I was not inclined to ask my classmates for help.  They weren't that bright.

lol.gif I know what you mean! I might ring the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and see how the land lies. I have a vague idea that people prefer postgrad tutors who are currently studying, but maybe not. We live pretty close to the Uni, so I could easily go there to meet people between classes. There are lots of Asian students here whose English isn't super, so that's a potential market... again, though, I don't know what to charge!

 

I really appreciate all the advice and ideas! I'm feeling a lot less hopeless about life now. :) If even one of these avenues works out I'll have a wee bit of extra income, and if I could get a few nights' nannying a week and a few tutoring sessions, and maybe selling the odd crafty item, well, I'd be busy but happy.

post #13 of 30

My friend was an ESL teacher and what the foreign students needed most was a patient English speaking friend with a car.  Maybe you could do like a club thing where you get together with the kids twice a week for a few hours and explored your culture while doing practical things like shopping and goofing around all while practicing their English.   It could meet so many needs. Heck pitch it to the school and they may even pay you.  

 

 

Speaking of that..I live within walking distance of two medium sized universities.  I have often considered cashing in on that. (both private school.  There are some serious bucks there.  There are luxury dorms.   Private rooms with gaming systems, fire places, private AC, big screen TVs, etc....)  I know most college kids had cars but I am sure there are still some who go to school without one....maybe.  I know a ride to the grocery store once a week would have been a God send.  Someone to drive me around while I looked for a job,.  Maybe a home cooked meal once a week.  And laundry. I figured I could be like a rent a mom and offer 5 or 6 different services.   for a fee. :) 

 

$100 a night seems steep for around here.  I mean people get that much on holidays, especially new years eve.  But as a general rule I would think $50 a night would be about standard for here.  I mean you are going to be able to sleep.  and you are bringing your baby with you.  Which is fine but it is not the same as your undivided attention for their child.  However i live in the midwest where most things are cheap and most people are poorly paid.  Things might be rosier where you are.  And if they are they should be rosier for you as well LOL

 

post #14 of 30
Thread Starter 

The rent-a-mom thing sounds cool. :) I'm a bit hampered by only having a restricted driving licence, but I should be able to get my full pretty soon. If we can afford it...

 

Well, I rang around a bunch of supermarkets and most of them don't have night-time stocking jobs (staff members just do it during the day). But the biggest, cheapest one does, so I picked up an application form (and promptly felt very, very sad as I read all the "We will require you to work on Christmas Eve" fine print). Luckily I got home and found out that the survey place doesn't mind a bit if I bring Miles (yay!), so I'll apply there first. The same agency has a mystery shopping division too, so I'll apply for that as well. I've done mystery shopping before - it hardly pays anything, but it can be a good source of treats in an otherwise treatless life. :p And I've applied for another company too, so between them I should be able to get the occasional interesting assignment. (I scored a free pair of jeans once at my last job, but mostly it was McDonald's, which I try not to eat these days.)

 

$100 a night does seem pretty steep, doesn't it? I thought it did, but figured I must just be out of the loop on what Real People pay for stuff, never having had a more-than-$11-an-hour job. A lot of people online said they paid $100, but then, they mostly had proper trained nannies. I'll ask my nurse friend if she knows what her colleagues typically pay.

 

I talked to an ex-teacher friend today, and she encouraged me to put tutoring ads in school newsletters. She did say this might be the wrong time of year for it, though.

 

So, my to-do list for today:

 

-Finish filling in the mystery shopping agreement, take a digital photo of it and send it in

-Write a cover letter and CV, and send to the survey/mystery shopping company

-Ring Sacred Heart about invigilating exams

-Work on parenting magazine article (due tomorrow - eep!)

-Ring a few more restaurants for DH's business

-Do some research on hypnosis for another part of DH's business

 

...And a bunch of other stuff, but I also have to make soup and dinner, clean the house a bit and so on.

post #15 of 30

around here a nanny gets paid way more than a part time babysitter.  Probably double.  The adds I was looking at ranged from $15-$20 an hour. So for 8 hours....remember to educate yourself on local tax laws.   In the states nanny's get assaulted with taxes.

post #16 of 30

how about a foreign exchange student? in Ca they pay about $900 per mo and are in school or out being tourists most of the time

post #17 of 30

or dog-walker/pet sitter, you can wear the baby and take the kids with you if need be 

post #18 of 30

frugal village? I've checked out that forum before. I think that's what it's called. There used to be the living like no one else dave ramsey forum but I think something happened to the website

post #19 of 30
Thread Starter 

A dog-walker would be a brilliant idea, except that I'm not too keen on dogs and tend to rapidly, if accidentally, kill any animal in my custody. A pity.

 

The foreign exchange student thing might work - I looked into it ages ago, before we got our current flatmate.

 

Just to update, I'm currently writing up my CV and a cover letter for that survey job. Just sent off an invoice for my latest article, too - that'll be about $600 for my brand-new bank account!

post #20 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by trekkingirl View Post

frugal village? I've checked out that forum before. I think that's what it's called. There used to be the living like no one else dave ramsey forum but I think something happened to the website



Thanks for posting about this frugal village forum. I'm checking it out now and liking it!

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