Author: Jon Bird

Just a guy trying to sort out his life. Likes long walks on the beach, stuffed cuddly animals, and getting a head shot in Fallout,

Mystery Shopping As A Side Hustle

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There are many times in life when a little extra spending money is needed. Personal purchases, business expenses or just opening a savings account are many ways to use that extra cash, however, it can often be hard to find ways of making it.

One of the easiest ways to add a side hustle to your life, no matter how busy it might already be, is by becoming a mystery shopper. Yes, you are probably quite skeptical, and you should be! There are lots of scammers out there just waiting to take advantage of anyone who wants to make a few easy extra dollars.

So we’ll start by saying this: if you are ever asked to pay a membership fee, or any other type of fee for that matter, you are dealing with a scammer. No legitimate mystery shop company will ever ask you to pay anything.

Mystery shops are carried out by people just like you, who work to make sure that companies are carrying on with day-to-day business as they should be. The companies that hire you to do so are very serious about good field agents and their vetting processes are all a little different.

Some mystery shops can be done from the comfort of your own home, by submitting emails or website queries and you can even mystery shop some businesses by phone. Others require you to actually visit an establishment in person, but who doesn’t like to shop?

A lot of companies will pay you a certain amount for conducting the shop plus an extra amount, agreed upon before the shop is done, for reimbursement of products they have asked you to purchase.

If you’re wondering how much money you can make doing this, well, that’s completely up to you. The more shops you accept, of course, the more money you will make. You are completely in control of your schedule with this side hustle!

If you would like to start your search for reputable companies to work for as a mystery shopper, you can start that search here.

Good luck!

Socialize the Frugal Way to Spare Your Wallet Sorrow

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Do you have some financial goals but dread that feeling of “keeping up” with your friends as they seem to always choose the most expensive outing possible? Do you love to hang out with them but hate how your debit card balance looks after a day at an amusement park or a night out downtown at the hottest clubs? Well, dread no more! Freshen up your social life and give your wallet a break by taking an initiative to suggest one of these four frugal hangout alternatives.

1. Game Night

pexels-photo-84663.jpegNothing packs fun and saving money into one package like hosting a game night. Invite friends over after dinner so all you will need to provide are a few tasty beverages and snacks, which costs far less than a night out in the town. You can spend hours with your favorite board or card games and don’t have to worry about Ubering your way home at a certain hour.

2. Potluck Food Contest

A great way to get everyone together for a meal without breaking the bank is to take a fresh spin to the potluck. By putting a competition aspect to the event, your friends will show off their edible contributions. Everyone, in turn, spends a fun evening together by spending very little, yet everyone gets to eat like a king.

3. Happy Hour Finder


Saving money by socializing at home is fun, but getting out once in a while is still in order. The good news is that many restaurants have happy hours during the weekdays and late at night that save you money! These deals also pertain to appetizers and meals. Handy apps like Happy Hour Finder, the very app that Cosmopolitan magazine praised, connects you with all the best food and drink deals in your area. Going out doesn’t have to break the bank when you go at the right times.

4. Look Online for Free or Cheap Events

Your community hosts very cost-effective events if you keep your eyes peeled. Just take a quick trip to your city’s website. They usually have a calendar of events that are open to the public. You will be surprised to see how many free things are out there! Also, websites like Livingsocial and Groupon offer amazing deals for tickets and services. You can save up to 70% and beyond if you buy tickets in pairs which get you in the gates of a renaissance faire or in on a paint and sip night for a fraction of the original cost.

You don’t need to always dress up and go to a fancy restaurant to have a good time with friends. By replacing one of your outings with one of these frugal options, socializing will be friendlier on your finances.

Podcast Lore: Sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction

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Chances are, you grew up on some folklore: whether local, like the legend of the haunted house down the street, a sign of the times, like bogeyman stories, or a story related to your ethnic/racial heritage that traveled by oral tradition through your family to your ears. A cross-cultural phenomenon of humans all over the globe is to explain unusual phenomenon through story. With memory being the fickle and easily altered thing it is, stories easily become embellished, evolving into legend. Which brings us to… Lore.


Aaron Mahnke, the mind (and voice) behind Lore podcast identifies as a supernatural nerd. He brings academic rigor to his insatiable curiosity, and the result is a podcast that is as well-researched as it is unusual and creepy. Lore looks for the truth behind the legend to the stories that haunt us.

Some myths are born by humans seeking meaning in times of tragedy, sometimes leading folklore to emerge about the possible haunted nature of specific locations, sometimes driving plagues of fear and panic, in which a belief in the supernatural results in a toll on very real human lives. Other times, no folklore is required for a series of circumstances to result in a very creepy, very real, bizarre style of crime.

Our cultural fascination with supernatural horror, and real crime procedurals and drama, makes Lore a perfect podcast for the times. It takes a critical eye unveiling the truth behind supernatural mysteries, often revealing it’s tagline to be true: Sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.

Money Saving: It’s Easier Than You Might Think

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If you try to save money, it seems like something always happens like the car breaks down, the dog has a medical emergency, you have to make home repairs. Unexpected expenses have a way of greedily eating money we manage to save. There are ways to save money that you may not have considered.

First, open a bank account and have a small portion your paycheck direct deposited into it each week. Use a bank that you do not have easy access to withdrawing the funds. Granted you will still know that money is there, but you won’t be tempted to spend it on a nonessential purchase.
Second, use a website like mypoints, memolink, or swagbucks to gain points for searches, watching videos, shopping and surveys. The key here is that when you have earned enough points to get a gift card, choose a store which sells food, or other items you need. Then take the same amount of money and put it away. Use the gift card to maintain your usual shopping habits. Keep the money you saved in a safe place or account. Over time you will have a bunch of money saved and it is money you never had to part with in the first place.

Third, look for sales and use coupons. But again, figure out how much money you actually saved, and put it with the other money gained from earning gift cards online. Do not leave loose change or money in your pockets and wallet. If it is too easy to access, you will spend it without thinking. Put it in a safe place and only take what you actually need.

You will be able to put some money aside using this advice. Once you have thousands of dollars saved, visit your local bank and find out about Certificates of Deposit (CD) and other savings options. CD’s are great because you can’t touch your savings for a certain period of time without penalty, so you will hold on to your money. Good luck.

Frugal Driving: 5 Tips For Saving Gas

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Whether you just got your license, or you’ve been driving since the days of full-service stations, saving gas has always been near the top of a driver’s concern list. Whether you’re commuting to work, going on a road trip, or just heading out to see friends, there’s always a part of your mind that’s wondering what the cost in fuel is going to be.

If you’re looking for some ways to seriously stretch your gas, here are a few that should get you where you need to be for a whole lot less.

5 Tips For Saving Gas

Tip #1: Perform Regular Maintenance


Your car is a lot like your body, in that something going wrong in one area can lead to a greater strain everywhere else. Whenever your engine has to work harder, it’s going to use more gas while you’re out and about. Sometimes all it takes to stretch your gas a little further is to make sure you air-up your tires, regularly change your oil, and service your brakes on time.

Tip #2: Avoid As Many Stops As You Can

Have you even noticed that when you get a car’s fuel efficiency, you’re given two different numbers? One is for in-town driving (where you’ll have to stop for lights, red octagons, and the occasional train). The other is highway mileage, where you only slow down if you’re getting off the freeway to take an exit.

So, if you have two routes to get where you’re going, take the one that doesn’t require you to constantly stop for red lights. You get better gas mileage if you can get on the road, set your cruise control, and just drive.

Tip #3: Don’t Idle When You Can Avoid It

How many times have you let your car “warm-up” because it was cold out? Or sat in the parking lot with the engine running while a friend ran into the store? Or stared at a train going past for ten or even fifteen minutes while you burned gas?

None of those are necessary.

Any time you have the choice of idling, ask yourself how long you’re going to be sitting there burning fuel you paid good money for. If you’ll only be a few minutes, like at a stop light, you’ll be fine. If you’re going to be waiting any longer than that, turn the engine off.

Tip #4: Avoid Traffic Whenever You Can


Sometimes you have to drive at a certain time of the day. You’ve got an appointment to get to, or you work a certain shift, etc. If that isn’t the case, though, then you should strive to drive during off-peak hours. While you don’t have to hit the road at two in the morning, you should listen to the traffic report to gauge when the road is going to be open so you don’t have to constantly slow down to avoid other drivers.

Tip #5: Use Your Cruise Control

This was mentioned in passing earlier, but it bears repeating. Cruise control is one of those features most modern cars come with, and we’ve finally reached the point where even those who have older, used models will still have this as an option. If you’re going to drive on the highway, this is a fantastic way to save fuel. Your engine works best when it’s kept at a constant output, rather than always being raised or lowered to stay within a speed limit. So take your car up to the posted speed limit, and set the cruise control. If you’re on an interstate highway, and the road is clear, you could drive for an hour or more without once needing to tap that brake.


Summer Date Ideas: Outdoor Adventures

One of the greatest things about summer is the freedom of activities you have at your fingertips. No longer do you have to plan indoor only date nights, which can get boring and predictable. Now, you have the great outdoors to explore. Below you’ll find a list of fun, cute, and romantic date night ideas to try this summer.

Go Camping


The great thing about camping is you can tailor it to your likes and interests. If you really love getting out in nature, then spend an entire day, or two, in the wild, fishing, sleeping in a tent, and hiking. If you like the idea of camping, but you don’t want to go without comfort for too long, then simply go for a few hours. You can still have fun hiking, roasting marshmallows, and spending quality time together outdoors.

Go to a Carnival


Carnivals are popular during the summer, so finding one shouldn’t be a challenge. Ride rides, win prizes for each other and eat delicious food you won’t find at local restaurants. Any date where cotton candy is involved is a win. Plus, the view of city lights from the Ferris Wheel at night can be extremely romantic when you’re snuggled close together.

Have a Picnic

This is another fun way to take advantage of a beautiful sunny afternoon. Cook up some of your favorites, or grab take-out from your favorite restaurant, find a cozy spot, such as a park or under a large tree, and lay a blanket down. It’s a simple, cheap, and romantic date that can include romantically feeding each other strawberries.

Go to a Music Festival

yvette-de-wit-118719.jpgMusic comes alive during the summer, and there are plenty of festivals to be a part of. So, choose a band you both love and experience the thrill of seeing them live together. If the festival is far away, the two of you can enjoy a fun road trip as an added bonus.

Tour Your City

So many of us don’t visit the local touristy places our city is popular for. If this is true for you, then spend a day acting like tourists in your own city. Get a snow cone or ice cream first, then walk hand in hand as you explore some of the places that make your city so great.

Play Putt-Putt Golf

5235779073_44741c35aa_m.jpgEngage in some fun, friendly competition during a round of Putt-Putt golf. These courses are normally easy but entertaining. Plus, you can make it more interesting by placing a bet on who will win, such as loser buys dinner for the winner.


A date doesn’t have to be extravagant to be memorable. So, this summer, have fun together with these fun and casual outdoor adventures.

Review: Pet Magasin Self-Heated Bed

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This post has been sponsored and Powered by BrandBacker.


My dog, Mayday, isn’t a huge fan of new beds but she took a liking to this large Self-Heated Bed almost immediately. Once it was laid on the floor she automatically sat right on top of it claiming it as her own.

The Pet Magasin Self-Heated Bed is self heating by absorbing, holding and reflecting your Pet’s body heat right back at them with a thin layer of mylar film (the same insulator that is used in spacesuits). This will keep them nice and cozy during those cold nights of summer. The cover on top

The Pet Magasin Self-Heated Bed Large package comes with two mats is padded with a IMG_0911.jpgnice thick, soft and hypoallergenic foam that won’t go flat for years. Even the bottom has rubber studs so the bed stays put even when your pup runs there to get a T-R-E-A-T.

1 large (28.5″ x 34.5″) and 1 small (17″ x 11″). This bed can either be bought through Amazon (get that 2 day free shipping through Prime) or through and with the Coupon Code: 5F2WSQO4 you can get this bed for 30% off.

Get one for your pet or for a friend’s pet and you won’t be sorry. This is a great product by a great company whom primary concerns are that everything made is safe for pets and their owners,with a quality item that has a great value. The self heating bed by Pet Magasin gets two paws up.


Unexpected Rewards Programs the Reward Things You Already Buy

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When it comes to saving money, reward programs are an excellent way to do so. However, many people tend to over think what rewards programs they should choose. Instead of choosing a program for activities you do sparingly, you will get the most benefit for activities you do every week or even every day. These can often be unexpected, but there are a lot of reward programs out there.

Papa John’s

Let’s be real here, you probably order pizza more than you realize. It is fast, easy, and delicious while cooking for yourself is difficult and often less rewarding. Fortunately for you and your functioning pizza addiction, one of the best rewards programs out there is Papa John’s. Each order nets you points depending on what you order and what you spend. Those points add up surprisingly quickly towards what we all desire – free pizza.


With your health insurance as expensive as it probably is, medicine is one area you don’t expect to save on. However, if you frequently need to go to CVS or Walgreens to get your prescriptions filled, you can save. Walgreens actually beats out CVS in terms of rewards programs since it allows you to accrue points and then put those points toward hefty discounts on your purchases.


This rewards program probably depends how much you actually go out to the movies. For some people, they go on a date near every week while others only go out maybe once a year. However, if your city is overrun with AMC-owned theaters, as most cities are, you can actually get some great discounts with their rewards programs. From discounts on snacks to free movie tickets, you can accrue them all with the AMC Stubs programs. However, in return for the flat discount rates it also give, you have to pay a yearly fee of $12.

Side Hustles That Require Very Little Effort

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If you want to get into the side hustle game to start earning a little extra cash, you don’t want it to eat up every second of your free time. There is nothing worse than realizing that all your after work time has suddenly become even more work time. However, while a lot of side hustles can expand into some long hours, there are a few that require minimal effort on your part.

Dog Walking


Dog walking is actually a great way to multitask if you want to hit the gym, but also want to make some money. It is a super easy business to break into, especially if you live in the bigger city where not everyone can get home to take their dogs out. Providing the dogs get along alright, you can even walk them in larger packs which can save you on time while still making you a good deal of extra cash.

Be a Notary

While it takes a small initial investment to become a certified notary, it is as easy of a side hustle as you can get. You get to charge your own fees and you can run your notary services however you’d like. You can charge more if you are the type of notary that will actually go to the person, but with cheaper prices, plenty of people will still pay to come to you.



Unlike blogging or ghostwriting, your time won’t get completely sucked up with proofreading. You can easily fall down the rabbit hole with actually writing for money, but if you are an avid reader with a decent grasp on the English language, less sure writers will pay you for it. Some writers don’t even care about proper grammar, they just want you to make sure it sounds good and is easy to understand.

Frugal Living – The Miracle of Paint

It doesn’t matter whether you are young and just starting out in life or whether you are older and focused on saving for retirement, if you’ve been shopping for furniture lately, you’ve noticed the big dollar amounts on all the price tags.  Even a relatively plain dining room chair can cost nearly a hundred dollars!  Is it really necessary to pay such steep prices for furniture and accessories or is there another way to affordable furniture?

For those do-it-yourselfers and those interested in frugal living, a can of paint or wood stain might end up being your best friend.  If you need furniture, whether it is a bed frame, nightstand, dining room chair or plant stand, consider going to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill store to find some really interesting and eclectic pieces.  Craigslist and local garage sales are also great places to find some cool pieces of furniture or other accessories at rock bottom prices.

Many people have furniture items they no longer need or they have pieces with a scratch here or a stain there and they don’t have the time or the knowledge to make the proper repairs.  It really isn’t that difficult to learn how to paint or use stain to restore wood items to their original glory.  Furniture refinishing can be as simple as painting an item and leaving all the dings in place for the “shabby chic” look or sanding down the entire piece, using wood filler to fill in the holes and then staining or painting to make the piece look like new again.

Often it is the unique, older pieces of furniture that really help to make a house a home.  There is also the sense of accomplishment that one receives after taking something that was once destined for a landfill and restoring it to its former beauty.  An expense of $30 or so in refinishing supplies is a small price to invest in a piece of furniture that is just right for your home.