Monday, October 19, 2009

Brother, can you spare me a tip on how to make a few dimes?

Well, the lousy economy has finally hit us, personally. This semester I only have four students. I usually average around ten-- so a more-than-50% decrease there, over $4500 out of our yearly budget. Pretty rough. Seems like music lessons are one of the first expenses to get cut during hard times. It means that J has had to pick up a night class (teaching) at a local business college and we're cinching in our belts. Metaphorically speaking only, unfortunately :) My belt could use to cinch up a few notches, in a physical sense... but that's another post for another time.

Anyway. I've been racking my brain to try and think of ways to pull in a little extra "egg money" here and there. It's rough, since I'm homeschooling Sofi and on a fairly strict school schedule-- in addition to all her "extra curricular" activities. Normally I'd take on a little babysitting and that would cover the loss in students, but I simply don't have the time. At least, not to commit to a weekly babysitting job.

So I've decided that I'm going to try and pull together some stock of baby and toddler clothes (handmade) to sell. I also am finally going to get down to Ebay-ing all Sofi and Judah's old clothes. But after that, I'm slap out of ideas. I'd love to hear from y'all what creative ways you are adding a little egg money to your incomes. Got any hints to share? Any success stories? Anything you've always wanted to try?

I'm also, of course, doing everything I can to cut costs around the house. Hints in that area would be great, too! So far I've cut out extras like paper products (plates and paper towels) and fancy toiletries (using whatever's at Big Lots). I've gotten the selective shopping down to a science-- knowing exactly which store has which item at the lowest price. We're making our own bread and breakfast food (so no boxed cereals) and buying things in bulk whenever we can. I honestly don't know where else I can cut back... What's your favorite cost-cutting trick? What substitutes have you made to save? What have you discovered you can do without?

Share, share, share!! Especially share links-- yours, if you've written about something similar, or others that have inspired you.

I need some inspiration from mah Sistahs!


14 comments:

Jill said...

Put some o' them purty coats up on Etsy! ;) I need to stock up my store again soon. The woolies aren't exactly flying off the shelves so I guess it's back to pads.

Jenny said...

We've found that in general, we actually make more on Evie's clothes if we donate them to Goodwill for the tax deduction, believe it or not! Jeff found a site that does the specific tallies for you...a bit time consuming, but certainly no more than Ebaying.
I have a friend that's opening a vintage type store for the holidays (like for a month or 2) -- I was thinking about making some vintage looking kitchen towels, maybe Christmas-y or something. If you have any ideas for that, I'm sure she'd be glad to sell them for you!
Funny that you're losing students as I was just talking to a friend of mine here who wants to start her girls on piano and voice, so I may start teaching again. Can you advertise yourself more???
Sorry to hear about the loss of students, I know how that hurts. Life here is so un-stable job-wise that we just never know what's coming next. Lot's going on to think about regarding the future. Boggles the brain a bit...and strengthens the faith muscles.

Hosanna said...

Cash for gold? I'm in the same situation so I have NO CLUE what to say except keep on keepin' on.
What about photography? Is there something there?

septembermom said...

I'm looking for ideas too. I posted about my money troubles a couple of months ago. Most bloggers told me to look into writing sites like Helium. I'm still hunting for an opportunity.

Good luck!

Herb of Grace said...

Jill, yeah, I'm planning to build up some stock and put some up on Etsy.

Jenny, I'm not sure that the tax deduction would work for us-- we're in such a low bracket we get everything back that we pay anyways... I've advertised all the free places we have around here. Not sure I'm ready to start paying to advertise...

SepMom, thanks for hint about Helium! I gave it a quick glance and it looks quite promising :)

Hos, believe me, if I HAD any gold (other than my wedding bands) I'd have hocked it long ago ;) And I"m not good enough with the photography to do anything with it.

Jenny said...

Hey, september mom reminded me of something. I have a friend who's mom writes church stuff...lessons, kids pages for sunday school and during church (activity pages). I'm not sure what all, but I know she sells it to a company that then publishes it. I think she does fairly well at it??? I could get details if you're interested.

The Pennells said...

Hi, its been awhile since we spoke. We pinching pennies too. Eli is trying to start a new business and the funds are low. One thing that has always worked for me is to make a menu before I go to the store. I plan complete meals. For us it is two weeks, we get paid every other week. i will check to see what we have and then make my list. I always spend more when I don't have my menu. I would be interested in some home sewn childrens clothes. You may want to advertise that and maybe sewing lessons. I am wanting to learn but you are to far away. Good luck.

Herb of Grace said...

That's a great idea, Sherry! I used to do menus, but I've gotten out of the habit recently. I bet that does make a difference-- I'll have to get back into it. Thanks for commenting :) It's good to hear from you again!


Jenny, I'd love to hear more about that...

Lauren Valentine said...

Speaking of sewing maybe that is an area where you could take on students? And as far as selling stuff you should look into that new shop downtown, On the Turtle's Back. They do consignment and also sell locally handmade items. Matt and I are feeling the squeeze too...the ups and downs of owning your own business! Oh, you could direct weddings, that should work with your schedule.

Hosanna said...

I was joking about cash for gold, Darlin'. Like Sherry, I do menus also, as I get paid every other week as well. It does help, and cuts back on having to run back to town (15 miles to the nearest grocery) for flour or butter.
Someone I know from the MJF Connection started making whoopie pies and selling them - one order was $600. I am going to start looking into baking like that - as they say one area not struggling much in this economy is sweets and baked goods! Can you believe it?

geswinson said...

Thanks for the plug Lauren ;) We at On the Turtle's Back would love to have your talent in our store. Stop by! {neither of you probably know this, but OTTB is turning into a collective and I will be one of the worker-owners}

Herb of Grace said...

Lauren and Geneva, thanks so much for telling me about OTTB! I'm looking into that RIGHT NOW!

HOs, whoopie pies?? Seriously? Why??

Seth and Karen's blog said...

Lisi,

Have you considered becoming a local representative? I tried this while pregnant with Michael and it is wonderful for a stay-at-home mom. There is an exchange program called FIEA (Foreign International Exchange umm, something. The last part slips my mind.) Anyway, you get $200 per student you place with a family. Plus you get $110 every semester per student. If you are interested I can provide you with what the responsibilities are and I can hook you up with the Area Representative for VA. Besides the initial time and paperwork involved with the placement of each student, little is required except a monthly report sent to the home office and a bi-monthly checkup with student and host family. Really good to make a little money on the side. E-mail me at sethkaren@gmail.com for details!

Karen

Hosanna said...

Lis: yep, whoopie pies. "City" people love them. And this person seriously got an order for $600.00 worth of whoopie pie! I don't care if it was persimmon pie, if someone said "I'd like $600.00 worth of that," I'd take it! I used to bake whoopie pies all the time for Yoder's Country Market. One time I did an order of like 60. At $2.00 each.
Do the math.