Some questions - thrift forums, turning a spare room into cash, part-time work - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 30 Old 08-21-2011, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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...


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#2 of 30 Old 08-21-2011, 10:12 PM
 
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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.

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#3 of 30 Old 08-21-2011, 10:14 PM
 
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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.

 

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#4 of 30 Old 08-21-2011, 10:41 PM
 
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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?


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#5 of 30 Old 08-22-2011, 07:20 AM
 
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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.


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#6 of 30 Old 08-22-2011, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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...)

 

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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...


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#7 of 30 Old 08-22-2011, 03:05 PM
 
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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?

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#8 of 30 Old 08-22-2011, 04:17 PM
 
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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.


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#9 of 30 Old 08-23-2011, 04:40 PM
 
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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
 

 


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#10 of 30 Old 08-23-2011, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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


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#11 of 30 Old 08-23-2011, 07:36 PM
 
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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.


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#12 of 30 Old 08-23-2011, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.


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#13 of 30 Old 08-24-2011, 04:29 PM
 
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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

 


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#14 of 30 Old 08-24-2011, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.


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#15 of 30 Old 08-24-2011, 07:33 PM
 
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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.


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#16 of 30 Old 08-27-2011, 04:32 PM
 
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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


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#17 of 30 Old 08-27-2011, 07:39 PM
 
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or dog-walker/pet sitter, you can wear the baby and take the kids with you if need be 


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#18 of 30 Old 08-27-2011, 11:23 PM
 
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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


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#19 of 30 Old 08-28-2011, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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!


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#20 of 30 Old 08-29-2011, 04:17 AM
 
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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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#21 of 30 Old 08-29-2011, 06:35 AM
 
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Don't freak out about working Christmas Eve. I had to do it this year for the first time. My store closed at 6, it was so slow after lunch that I think I left early.

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#22 of 30 Old 08-29-2011, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm hoping I get paid soon for my article. Once I have some cash in the bank I can "fund" a mystery shop to a shoe store (you have to purchase a pair of shoes and then return them the next day); it pays $40, which is pretty good for a mystery shop!

 

I've been looking at free Wordpress templates. I have all this natural haircare info (I've written lots of articles about it for Suite101) and have been vaguely meaning to make a blog about it for ages. I know it's not a get-rich-quick scheme, or even a get-rich-at-all scheme, but
I might be able to make a few adsense pennies out of it, so!

 

Right. This week's to-do list (which, yes, is suspiciously similar to my last; there's a lot of stuff I didn't get done!):

 

-Fill in mystery shopping form with new bank details; send image of it to mystery shopping company

-Call Sacred Heart again re invigilating

-Write CV and send it off with cover letter (I wrote a CV yesterday, but DH said it was more like a cover letter)

-Ring survey place and ask about bringing the baby along

-Ring the Autistic Association re tutoring

-Write tutoring ad

-Get DH to help make up an overnight nannying ad

 

Also:

 

-Divide fruit box up for SIL

-Visit SIL

-Make shopping list

-Go to supermarket

-Make baby present for Saturday's baby shower

-Bake bread

-Visit friend who just had a baby, with some kind of food

-Bake snacks for choir


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#23 of 30 Old 08-30-2011, 01:34 PM
 
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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.


I am curious what you mean by "nanny's get assaulted with taxes." In my experience nannys either work under the table, in which case they pay no taxes, get paid partially in cash and partially on the books, in which case their tax exposure is very low, or are paid fully on the books with their employeer covering everything besides income taxes. Most get paid vacation time and if they receive health care assistance, it isn't taxable income. If they have children, they probably quality for the earned income credit which reduces their tax liability to almost nothing.

 

How are they"assulted with taxes." Very curious.

 

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#24 of 30 Old 08-30-2011, 10:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I'm aware of the need to take care of taxes (my sister got in trouble over taxes awhile back - she was innocent, just clueless). DH is self-employed and SIL used to work at Inland Revenue, so between them they know a bit about taxes. I just had to find out my tax code for mystery shopping! I'll probably make, like, $100 over the course of a year, but it still gets taxed. Oh well!

 

I just spent a slightly depressing half-hour chasing up editors to ask why they haven't responded to my queries. I don't mind an outright rejection - well, I do, I mean, duh, but it's better than sending off a query into the void and getting no response at all. Makes me feel like a very small fish... which I am. :p I should look into writing for the newspaper, but for some reason that seems far more scary than writing for magazines. I think I watched too many episodes of Lois and Clark, and got this impression of hard-bitten cynical professionalism complete with power-padded shoulders and heels; none of which is me. I'd like to write for the Lifestyle section (kind of a pull-out magazine thing), not covering actual current events so much as doing the odd op-ed or humour column. But I have no idea how to get into it.

 

ETA: Tomorrow I'm doing two mystery shopping assignments. If I do 'em right, that's $65. Not too shabby! I just signed up for another two mystery shopping companies. I won't be able to do it that often, because of the baby; but I can at least look out for worthwhile assignments.


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#25 of 30 Old 08-31-2011, 10:46 AM
 
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 I should look into writing for the newspaper, but for some reason that seems far more scary than writing for magazines. I think I watched too many episodes of Lois and Clark, and got this impression of hard-bitten cynical professionalism complete with power-padded shoulders and heels; none of which is me. I'd like to write for the Lifestyle section (kind of a pull-out magazine thing), not covering actual current events so much as doing the odd op-ed or humour column. But I have no idea how to get into it.

 

 


Depending on the size of your paper, it is worth sending some samples of your work to the editor and telling them that you are available. In many cases though, they want someone who will be willing to pick up coverage of small local events that won't exactly be front page subject-matter, but it can be intriguing anyway. They usually have no shortage of reporters wanting to cover the big stuff, but it can be pulling teeth to get coverage of the other stuff that's less flashy.  Of course, it doesn't always pay well, but it IS usually something, and the connections are local and often lead to a small column. 

 

I started simply by covering local small subjects- or those that were controversial enough the editor didn't want her name associated with an article, and progressed from there.  I think it was initially something like $75 for 300-500 words.  From there, I've managed to springboard to other publications and haven't sent a query in about three years.  I am able to pick up pieces I would like to do when they are offered, and don't have to jump through the hoops to get there anymore. It's a nice place to be, but I wouldn't have reached that point if I hadn't been broke enough to start out doing the local boring stuff (we refer to it as the Chicken Dinner News- Aunt May visited Billy Bob last week for supper, and Vern decided to sell the ranch to the new owners from California don'tcha know! )  An extra $75 a week made a difference, I wrote anything I was asked to write, and I bit my tongue as  it was dumbed down and poorly edited.  

 

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#26 of 30 Old 08-31-2011, 01:31 PM
 
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\(we refer to it as the Chicken Dinner News- Aunt May visited Billy Bob last week for supper, and Vern decided to sell the ranch to the new owners from California don'tcha know! )  

 


HAHAHAHA...this made my day.  I remember visiting my grandma for a summer in Ouray CO and my arrival, stay and departure all made the newspaper.  Whats even funnier is people read it and stopped into my job to welcome me to town and introduce themselves.

 


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#27 of 30 Old 08-31-2011, 07:42 PM
 
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HAHAHAHA...this made my day.  I remember visiting my grandma for a summer in Ouray CO and my arrival, stay and departure all made the newspaper.  Whats even funnier is people read it and stopped into my job to welcome me to town and introduce themselves.

 

 

It's seriously crazy.  We cut back on it at one point because really, well, it's not 1922- but there was a HUGE outcry from the older folks in town.  We had to put it back. In a 12 page paper, it took up two pages! 
 

 

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#28 of 30 Old 09-08-2011, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just thought I should update!

 

I got my own bank account. :) I'm currently making miniscule fragments of money here and there. $5 for one mystery shop, $40 for another (and a free $15 purchase for another, which will be one of DD's Christmas presents). $70 carer support money for looking after my disabled sister last night and today. $120 for my last month's internet articles.

 

So that's something, I guess! It'll add up; I'm not spending any of it. When I get a decent chunk I want to invest it, purely because it sounds exciting and adult.

 

I put up a bunch of ads around Uni the other day, offering my services as a tutor. DH did the copywriting (that's his job, largely) and it was a cool ad, but I'm not too sanguine about getting responses. I also rang a lady about a short-term gig picking up her daughter and taking her to school, but I doubt she'll respond - I only have my restricted licence, so really shouldn't be doing it anyway. I also pitched four more articles to my editor this morning - hopefully she'll let me write two articles for the next issue.

 

I still haven't advertised my services as a tutor for young kids yet, or put up ads around the hospital for night-time nannying (the ad on the intranet didn't go through - it counts as "business promotion". Sigh.)  DH needs to help me with those and he's pretty busy.

 

Sometime soon I want to go to the dump and look for furniture to refurb. I figure I'll start with just one or two pieces, and if I make a decent profit on them I'll get more into it. The idea appeals...

 

Any more ideas are greatly welcome!


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#29 of 30 Old 09-08-2011, 05:47 PM
 
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Nice work!!  I've been following along and rooting for you.  :)


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#30 of 30 Old 09-27-2011, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks hopefulfaith. :)

 

To update... no responses from the tutoring ads at Uni. A shame; they were good ads, too. DH is a copywriter and helped me write 'em.

 

I haven't done much more about finding a "proper" job, because DH got another client and things were less tight for awhile. They're back to being tight again, though; I guess I should get used to that for the time being. The frustrating thing is, people LOVE DH. He's very good at what he does. A bigwig in the marketing biz wants him to speak at three conferences next year, in Australia, Portugal and London! Hopefully that will get him the exposure he needs for lots of clients; currently, though, he gets tons of fanmail and not that many clients. It's weird.

 

Anyhoo. I've been making bits of money here and there. Got two $70 mystery shop jobs last week (which would be more exciting if I didn't have to fork out $200 each time for a pair of shoes... I get the money back, but I like to see my balance going up, not down!). Sold some books, again for $70. Mum's going to sell some more for me on Harvest Curriculum Swap, a homeschooly resource Ebay-type deal. And I've put the rest on TradeMe, although I doubt I'll get much for 'em. These are ones I don't read any more, though, so even a few dollars is better than donating!

 

The really exciting news is.... my friend's mother rang me and wants to rent us the cottage on their orchard! It needs doing up, which they're currently doing, and she won't let us see it until that's done lest we get put off; but it could be awesome. She said they'd charge about $200 a week, and we're currently paying $340! We can have chickens, and a veggie garden, and it's out of town but not too far out (takes about 7 minutes to drive in, she says). And it's surrounded by plum and apple trees.

 

I'm trying not to get too excited, because DH won't consider the place if he doesn't like the looks of it; but it could be just what we need. We've always wanted to live in the country and do the homestead thing, and this would be a great chance to practice, AND save on rent at the same time!

 

I did try to find some old furniture to do up from the dump shop the other day. No luck. Still toying with various crafty ideas - selling kids' aprons? Selling fancy tote bags? Etsy shop? (Ehh, there are like a billion of those, though, and I don't have just one product with enough potential to open a specialised shop; and I don't tend to trust the "dabbly" ones much - you know, the ones that sell a crocheted this and a knitted that and a few cloth nappies and a hat and a maternity dress and a vintage lamp - they don't seem very professional. So at the very least I'd have to do a LOT more research and product development.)

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