How to Afford Twins: Bringing in Extra Income

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With two or more blessings coming into your life at once, cutting back seems the obvious route to go when figuring out how to afford twins or more, but sometimes it just isn’t enough, especially if one of the parents is now at home with the kids.  That is why you may want to consider bringing in extra income, because every little penny helps.  *Please be aware some of the links below are ldskatelyn’s affiliate or referral links.how to afford twinsDonate Plasma

Not everyone can qualify to donate plasma, and not everyone should or will want to (I have personally never done this), but if money is tight you might want to consider donating plasma.  You can help others and make a good chunk of change for going regularly.  It can be $15-35 per visit, or more.  To learn more check out donatingplasma.org and find a center near you.

Sell Your Stuff

Ebay, Craigslist, consignment shops, the newspaper, pawn shops, and yard sales are all ways you can sell things you already have and make some extra money.

Childcare at Home

As a mother of multiples, you already know how to do crowd control, so what’s one or two more kids around the house?  And an extra playmate for your kids might actually give you a break. Look into watching a friend’s children, or a neighbor’s child, or check local listings in papers, craigslist, and on sites like sittercity.com.  There are dozens of childcare websites out there, and lots of people looking to find affordable childcare, that perhaps you can help fill.  While I once looked into doing this, the thought of watching someone else’s child for 40+ hours a week, on top of my own, felt super overwhelming.  Know your limits, and know how many hours a week you’d be able to offer childcare in your home, and what to charge.

Independent Beauty or Other Sales Consultant

There are still several companies out there that still sell their goods through an in-home sales consultant.  Some of these companies are Avon, Mary Kay, Tupperware, Thirty One, and Lia Sophia.  So, if you love make-up, jewelry, kitchen appliances, storage containers, or purses, you may want to think about reaping the rewards monetarily from your love affairs.

Tutor or Teach

Were you a brainiac in school?  Did you excel in a certain field?  Do you do a craft or have a skill that could be shared with others?  Then think about teaching or tutoring.  Whether a cake decorating class, keyboarding 101, Zumba, math, or piano lessons, there is probably a need out there for you to fill.  You can try offering your services through places like craigslist.org and your local newspaper.  There are numerous tutoring websites and networks out there for you to apply to be a tutor on.  You can check with local craft stores, gyms, libraries, and even nursing homes to see if they would pay for you to teach a class.

Online Survey Sites

While not a great source of additional income, it is an easy way to make a few extra dollars.  I have signed up and used various online survey sites, and my favorite one has to be valuedopinions.com. But, there are dozens of survey sites out there, some better than others.  What I like about Valued Opinions is they offer cash, not points, in return for taking surveys.  I like cash.  I like knowing exactly how much I will earn from each survey I take, so I can gauge if it is worth my time or not.  Another survey company that does cash payouts is MindField Online.  Other survey sites I’ve used are Toluna, which offers by far the most surveys, increasing your chance of being able to take them and earn.  (See THIS post I wrote about how some survey sites compare.)

Rewards Search Engines

Did you know you can be rewarded for searching the internet?  Yes, just for doing regular searches in a specific search engine can mean a little extra cash!  I have used swagbucks for probably two years now.  You can download their search toolbar and make them your default search engine. Swagbucks doesn’t reward a set amount per search, and is a bit hit and miss, but typically awards 6-10 points at a time.  Points or swagbucks can be redeemed for an array of different gift cards and other rewards.  I most often cash out at just 450 points for a $5 Amazon gift card.  They also offer tons of other ways of accumulating points as well, like 10 points for using a coupon printed from their site.

Another search engine you can do this with is Bing. Bing Rewards also allows you collect points for using their search engine which can be used to cash in on gift cards and other prizes.  Honestly, I haven’t used this very much at all, but I think I may start.  Bing is a much more powerful search engine than the growingly popular Swagbucks website.  My husband, for instance, hates using swagbucks to search for things because he doesn’t like that results he gets.  Also, earning is simple with Bing. You earn 1 credit per 2 Bing searches, up to 15 credits a day.  If you got 15 credits a day, it would only take you 35 days to cash in a $5 amazon gift card.  Whatever you prefer, it is a simple way to earn without having to spend any extra time.  You’re going to do internet searches anyways!

Cash-Back Online Shopping

This is one of my very favorite ways to bring in a little extra money.  I feel like I win the lottery each time I do it because I save even more on my bargain hunting online.  There are many cash back online shopping sites, and I use three different ones.  Why three?  Because sometimes one will have a better deal at the moment than another and not all websites have contracts with all of them.  And ShopAtHome.com will do 110% Price Match Guarantee (which I have used numerous times). The three I use are ShopAtHome.com, Ebates, and UpromiseUpromise – The Smart Way to Save for College is a free service, and by adding your credit, debit, or grocery card means that you can begin saving money for college every time you shop at participating retailers.  However, you can always just cash it out too.  Upromise offers 5% cash back or more on just about all of their online retailers.  Not all online retailers (like Amazon) are connected to these cash back websites, or only offer cash back on certain purchases.  Always make sure the check the fine print.  So, before you buy something online again, STOP, and shop through one of these sites!  It’ll be like getting the tax back on your purchases!

Baking and Cooking

Do you love to cook?  To bake?  Then maybe you should think about doing it to make a little extra income.  Cupcakes and specialty cakes seem to be all the rage.  Offer your services to friends and neighbors who will be having a themed birthday party soon or online.

Photography or Art

Are you an artist or a photographer?  Think about offering your services and creations to others.  There are lots of local venues and markets for artists to share and sell their goods, as well as bigger art fairs.  You can take requests and do commissions, a guaranteed way to make money. Or, create several works and take them to a fair or art show and try to sell them. Or think about opening an etsy shop with prints of your works.

Etsy Shop

Do you have a crafty hobby?  Do you already spend time creating?  Then you might want to think about starting your own business via etsy.  Etsy is a great place for creative people who also know how to operate a small business.  I have known many people to be very successful etsy sellers. It isn’t for everyone, as it is indeed a business and can be time-consuming and expensive to start up in the beginning, but can be very fun and rewarding!

Blogging

Everyone is passionate about something.  And sometimes that passion can be profitable.  If you love writing, social networking, websites, and graphic design, you may want to think about trying to make money from blogging.  There is never a guarantee return with blogging, especially as more and more blogs start every single day, but there are tons of resources out there to help you try.  Also, the more focused your niche (your hometown, animal photography, Atkins dieting, whatever) the more likely you can be successful.

What have you done to bring in extra income to afford your twins (or triplets)?

ldskatelyn is the mastermind behind this week’s theme week of saving money, trying to help others learn how to afford twins.  She loves saving money and making ends meet and is so excited that she is sharing some of her knowledge with others this week!  She blogs about her family and parenting over at What’s up Fagans?

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Hands-on Learning

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I am an unashamed nerd.

(My husband, looking over my shoulder as I write, claims that he is not a nerd, and is better described as “awesome.” His high school friends would probably go with nerd-jock, though. Oh, and band geek.)

We’re the kind of people who see science and math everywhere in our daily lives. Our kids told us, with poorly disguised ulterior motives, that treats at the school cafeteria cost a quarter. Hubby took this opportunity to teach them about coin values. The first time my daughters helped me weed the yard, we discussed the purpose of the roots at the end of our leafy trespassers before banishing them to the compost pile. I try to respond to questions by showing our daughters the answers, whenever possible, instead of telling them. It often slows us down, though, and M in particular tends to dawdle, so I am learning to curb my love of teachable moments in the interest of getting things done.

Today, I felt awful. I had a headache and, according to my husband, a fever.

The girls needed their bath, though, so I asked them to climb into the cool tub. Now that they’re 5, and capable of climbing in and out of the bath themselves but still bathing together, I’m comfortable with leaving the room while they’re in there. If they were to fall quiet, I’d panic, but that’s not a problem we deal with at our house.

While I retrieved clean uniforms from the laundry, they got increasingly loud. I went in to wash their hair, and caught sight of J pouring water into a washcloth bundled into a pouch in M’s hands. I asked what they were doing, and was told that it was “an experiment.” My headache tempted me to leave it at that, but I asked what they were trying to learn. M told me that they were attempting to catch water. I washed their hair, and debated between rushing them through their bath and providing them a control to their experiment. I decided to go with the latter, and gave M a scrap of plastic wrap from the kitchen. Their glee at successfully containing water in their plastic pouch didn’t help my headache any, but was well worth it. There’s something to be said for keeping alive the wonder that one-year-olds display by chucking sippy cups to the floor time after time. After all, what is a scientist but a very large one-year-old, trying to figure out cause and effect?

I’m glad I took the time to encourage both girls’ curiosity and their partnership in discovery, but I’ll admit to that I’m heading for a long warm bath of my own, now that our daughters are in bed for the night.

When you’re pulled every which way and under the weather, how do you decide between seizing a teachable moment and making it through the day?

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Practice at home with your little yogis

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The yoga industry has become a multi-billion dollar industry, attracting hordes of us to join the trend. It’s wonderful that more people are benefiting from yoga, but it’s not so straightforward to know what you really need. Some studios are looking and acting like high-end spas. Yoga clothing and equipment is becoming specialized, even hyped. There are whole lines launched by big-name designers. You can buy yoga tank tops, bras, pants – long, short, wide, or tight. Then there is everything you can put on top of your practice wear, skirts, jackets and hoodies. There are scarves to keep you warm and looking good while you walk to and from the studio  and then to use as a blanket in Savasana the final relaxation. There are yoga gloves and shoes that grip. Not sure what the deal is with those, that you can practice without a mat on a ship maybe?   There are eco-friendly yoga mats,  funky bags, chakra-balancing jewelery… There are  hundreds of yoga magazines featuring hot, fit models in wild postures. They must eat healthy, organic, and take strangely named supplements.

And then there are as many studios as corner stores offering many styles. There is Vinyasa, Iyengar, Ashtanga, even Chocolate yoga, and Doga (Yoga for dogs). How do you choose? And all teachers say different things don’t they?. Taking a yoga class can be costly. A single class can range from $10-$25. Multiple class passes or monthly memberships are more affordable, but depending on the studio, still quite pricey. And how many times a month can you, MoM get to the studio anyway? What’s supposed to be an ancient method to simplify and unify our thoughts and outlook has become a daunting world to join. How can you start simply, without either running for your life or falling for all the crazy marketing?

My suggestion: develop a self-practice. Do it on your own floor or on 1 good quality yoga mat (they wear out quickly otherwise). Wear comfortable clothes that you find in your cupboard. Do it any time other than right after a meal. Take ten minutes or an hour, by yourself or with your little yogis alongside. More likely they’ll end up on top of you, under you, or both.

Whatever style of yoga you do, you can find something to do on your own, it’s the premise of a real yoga practice anyway.  In Ashtanga Yoga, which is the style I chose, self-practice is encouraged from the start. Owning your practice, your breath and movement, is the basis of the Mysore- style practice. In such a class people move at their own pace, through the sun-salutations, a set-sequence of poses, a closing section, and Savasana the final relaxation. Each person’s practice grows in length and depth over time. There is a teacher in the room who guides, assists, and adjusts the postures. Depending on the teacher, Ashtanga can be taught quite militantly, and the name Mysore for the South Indian city where it was developed has often been mistaken to represent “my sore!” So it is important to seek out a teacher who feels right.

But also a teacher who can guide you to do it on your own. It’s certainly not easy to do day in and day out without the combined energy of the teacher and other students. It’s  do-able though. One of my students, a mum of two, initially held back from self-practice because she wanted to leave her brain outside the class and just do as she was told (in her words!) It was her time off. I can understand that now. Others are afraid to forget the sequence, or afraid that they’ll hurt themselves from bad alignment, all issues that can be surpassed with some guidance, practice, and confidence.

Try to remember a few things you like from a class, and take them home mindfully. Following a teacher’s instructions while your thoughts are wandering from your neighbor’s strange clothes,  to why she can balance but you can’t, to whether you’ll cook broccoli or spinach when you get home isn’t really getting us any closer to yoga.

 

Other than finding time for it and the random thoughts, there are other obstacles for us mums practicing at home. Except when both children are asleep, I have to deal with their fights, my hair being pulled, or face scratched. I’ve was once ambushed in an inverted posture by my two and had to call for help. They often hug my standing leg just when I am in the hardest one leg balancing posture.

I also get the adjustments though. They sit on my back in forward-folds. I haven’t gone as deeply into postures since I was pregnant.

It’s good fun when they imitate me. The first time Leila copied some of my arm movements she was under four months old. I was shocked, and realized the value of practicing with them around. Today I asked R what he was doing on my mat. “Yoga,” he said while his hands, feet and head connected to the ground in his tenth down dog of the day. Having them around lets them know my practice is for me, but that they are welcome to join in, even if it is just lying on my mat underneath me. The postures come naturally to them. If I didn’t know better I’d be jealous of their flexibility. I’m hoping that my hyper-active yogis will also  imitate me in the final relaxation some day.  Here are more of our Mat Moments.

I can’t lie, there have been times I wish I could be in a studio and not have to deal with screaming, running toddlers dropping food on my mat, not to mention the number of times I have to stop part-way through because someone can’t handle it. When we travel and there are studios around, it is my break to go to a class.  We just spent ten days in a Canadian city where the studio down the road offered a first-timer two week unlimited trial for $25. Good deal for the five classes I managed.

A friend of mine on a tight budget did that for months. She took classes by shopping the deals at yoga studios in her city. She took the discounted one-month pass at one studio, and then a holiday special price at the next one, and the free class at another…

If you are seriously inclined to start some yoga on your own, even for a few minutes a day, I’d recommend the initial investment of studying with a teacher, someone who can guide you through a self-practice that would suit you. Eventually, you know what’s best, and the cost drops.

Workshops with senior teachers if they are available at your studio are great. They’re packed with tips that you can take home and work on for months.

Or buy a DVD that you can watch and re-watch. If it’s a good one, it won’t be surprising that you catch new tips every time.

David Swenson’s “Ashtanga Yoga -Practice Manual” is a comprehensive book available at his on-line shop for $30. It has 650 photos, including variations for all poses. It is worth it both for beginners and experienced practitioners. He is one of my favorite teachers, funny, and down-to-earth.

This is the Yoga Journal’s online home-practice page.

Just a note: learning solely from a DVD or teaching yourself from a book is not comparable to having an experienced teacher visually check in with you.

Your self- practice could be an hour of asana, 15 minutes of sun-salutations, a session of breath work in a seated position, or a 5 minute Savasana lying on your back. Whatever it is, it’s yours and it’s worth it.

Do you do your activities at home around your little yogis? How do they react? Do they participate?

Related articles: Little yogis  by Wendy Altschuler (www.yogachicago.com)
My children and yoga  by Paul Dallaghan (www.yoga-thailand.com)
What is “Mysore Style”?  by Paul Dallaghan (www.yoga-thailand.com)

 

Natasha, mum of Leila and Rahul was an Ashtanga Yoga teacher until her little yogis became the teachers.

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