Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Best Way to Save is to Earn

There are two sides to saving money. One is managing your expenditure and the other is maximizing your earnings. After all, you can't save more than you earn.

So to supplement my income I have explored several Work at Home Mom (WAHM) type jobs, and I've got to tell you I love them. They serve as creative outlets as well as sources of income. And they are flexible, they work around your schedule and you can do them in your pajamas.

Growing up, I always thought of myself as writer, but I never thought my scribbling hobby would earn me money. Then I heard about Demand Media Studios. This content mill generates articles for,, and several other websites. They hire writers, titlers, copy editors and video artists. When I first signed up I wondered if it was worth it. Then I got my first paycheck.

I was writing short articles for and getting paid from 7.50 to 15.00 an article. Considering the fact that these articles were not Pulitzer Prize material and could often be written in less than an hour, I was making a decent amount of money given the time I invested. I was working in spare hours, while watching TV or waiting for the laundry to finish. I quickly caught on to the style of writing which made things faster, less of my articles needed rewrites. I also qualified to write for which bumped my article pay to 20$ per article. It also made it easier to find writable titles.

I know some of you are wonder if my dabbling in my spare time could actually earn me any significant money. Are those measly 20$ an article worth my effort? After six months of devoting minimal time and planning to this I have earned about 1,700 dollars. Some of that will go to Uncle Sam, but the rest is all going to my savings. So yes, I think it was worth it. And if I sat down and focused on working out a schedule and some goals I could probably earn way more.

I've tried several other WAHM opportunities but this is by far, the one that worked best for me.

Deal Alert: 25$ From American Express

If you have an AMEX card you may soon be on your way to 25$ worth of free merchandise. But you'll have to act quickly.

American express is currently running an offer to help stimulate interest in small business. Here is the offer information:

"To be eligible for this offer, you must register your eligible American Express Card between November 8, 2010 and December 31, 2010.  You may only register one Card for this offer. Using your registered American Express Card, you must spend $25 or more at one or more participating small business merchants between 11/27/2010 and 12/31/2010 to receive the $25 statement credit.

Eligible merchants include any independently owned small businesses that accept the American Express Card.  Purchases made online, at large, national chains, at franchised business locations and at government agencies are not eligible.  Prepaid and corporate cards and ExpressPay transactions are not eligible. 

If your Card is replaced during the promotional period, please call the customer service number on the back of your Card for assistance. Registration is limited to the first 300,000 enrollees. Limit one statement credit per Cardmember. Statement credits are generally issued within 5 business days after your qualifying purchase, but may take up to 2 billing cycles to post to your account. Additional terms apply; see Registration Terms and Conditions for details."

To register your card click this link

I went to an independent grocery store and bought 27$ worth of cheese. This will last my family several months. My card was credited the 25$ the very next day. You must register your card before you shop to qualify. The offer ends tomorrow, so act quickly!

A Little About Me

From the title of this blog you may think I'm broke, elderly and living on a fixed income, or that I'm a penny pinching miser. You couldn't be further from the truth. I am 20 something MD-PhD student married to another young MD-PhD student. We each get paid a livable salary from our program and we enjoy many fine things in life.

So why do I budegt and look for bargains? It's complex issue with several answers.

First and foremost, our salary is designed to be livable for one person. When you start thinking about having a family you quickly head into the not-livable zone. I suppose the people who designed the program assumed that students would realize they are spending 8 of their prime reproductive years on a students stipend and would marry someone with a high salary who had a company daycare option. They never imagined anyone would be stupid enough to marry another student. Well, we are the sixth or seventh couple to have met and married in the program and plenty others have married students from other programs. So budgeting and deal shopping is our way of making our salaries support a family. I don't have any children yet but would like to think it will be possible one day.

Then there issue of livability. I live in NYC. The prices on items here would make someone from middle America dizzy. So you learn to stretch the dollar a little and find great buys so that you can maintain the standard of life you are accustomed to.

Lastly, I find it fun. To me budgeting and bargaining is not about pinching pennies and denying myself. It is about dreaming of the future I want to have and making that future possible. I'm not in debt and I'd like to stay that way. In fact, I'd like to be able to save up for my retirement so that I don't end up elderly and living on a fixed income. (I bet that's not something you're used to hearing from the average 20-something year-old). It's also a real rush to get an item you needed, and were expecting to shell out a lot of cash to acquire, for next to nothing.

Why the Blog? Because I see people all around me who think there is no way out of their debt, who think that finding deals and budgeting is too much hard work and there's no way for them to make it. This blog is here to tell you that you can do it! And if it's too much work, you can let me find the deals for you. The blog is for motivation as well as comraderie.

So join me, my friends, in improving the financial situation and quality of life in our households.