When I first got the internet connected at home (I was around 21), I set a goal to make back the cost of it so we were not out of pocket. I did the same for my mobile phone plan. Now, I make most of my money online, the internet enabled me to work from anywhere so my kids and I could travel plus it mean I could be there for them when they needed me.
Below is what I did, in order of what I tried and how successful it was, while doing it from home, around my kids.
Disclosure, there are affiliate links for products and services I personally use. I don’t link to or recommend anything I don’t use myself.
What can you do to Offset the Cost of Phone and Internet in Your Life?
The first thing I did was look for ways to make money online and at home. Then I focused on reducing my expenses using coupons, discounts and tips online. Over time, this has seen me develop businesses, create eBooks and totally change my life. Here is what I did and what I do now.
This was the first thing I sought out and tried. It was trial and error to find the ones that paid properly and weren’t scams. I got scammed a few times so I made a list of the Best Online Survey Sites for Aussies.
Octopus Group consistently pays the highest ($16.28 per hour) and has lots of surveys. You can join Octopus Group for free here. Next, PrizeRebel and Swagbucks both pay in USD and are free to join. PureProfile does well but there is a limit on how much you can cash out.
Cash Back Programs
Not so much making money, however, cash back programs make a significant difference to your online shopping. Especially at Christmas time, Black Friday Sales and other odd sales throughout the year. I have gotten anywhere from 1% to 25% back on purchases.
The way they work is you join the program, install the app and the button on your desktop too. Then they will pop up when you are browsing and can get cash back. Click to activate then it will go into your cash back program account which you can cash out.
Cash Rewards has been my favourite and you can get a $10 bonus for joining here when you make your first purchase of $20 or more.
Shopback is next, similar with a $15 bonus and more stores.
Honey is one which offers cash back and scans for discounts of coupon codes.
I use all three and compare the offers each time I am making a purchase online.
I got into this pretty early on and it quickly lead to other options including a book contract, freelance writing, eBooks and more. Blogging is still the main way I make money today and enabled me to leave an abusive marriage, support my kids and travel.
In a nutshell, I recommend going self hosted with SiteGround, installing WordPress (it’s all there, you just need to click), creating great content. Then to make money, build an audience and valuable site first so you can. Money comes from ads, affiliate links, sponsored posts, your own products and services etc.
I was offered a book contract with Wiley in my first year of blogging. We then turned some of that book into a different eBook and I still get royalties a decade later from them.
Since then, I have secured another book contract but am yet to publish it. Along with a selection of eBooks including:
26 Ingredients (which has been featured on TV as a way to save money on groceries/with cooking)
I have numerous friends around the world making anywhere from a few thousand through to 6 figures writing eBooks and selling them either on their own sites or through Amazon etc.
It is easier than ever to self publish now and most people can easily read or listen to books on their devices. The more accessible you make your book, the easier it is for people to buy.
One of my favourite side gigs started not long after blogging and landing the book contract. An Australian finance site reached out asking me to write a weekly column. Followed by a few other sites.
Later, I did more freelance writing and marketing for everything from finance to travel and parenting. My preference has been finance and travel. Travel writing enabled my family and I to have some incredible experiences and I personally had a few once in a life time experiences because of it.
Check out this article on how to become a freelance writer for tips and where to get paid gigs.
Buying Things to Resell
Books were the first things I started buying to resell and did well with it. An opportunity came up to buy a bunch of jewellery from a store closing at a low price, which I then resold for 3 times what I paid.
Later I did some Tupperware, brand name clothing, rockabilly clothing, photography and camping gear, I even flipped a few cars for a profit.
If I knew about it and could make a profit, I was interested. Learning about specific items, seeking them out and reselling in niche areas is how I made more profit than trying to do everything. As opportunities came up, I took them.
I have a range of articles on this and a whole eBook sharing my exact process. Check out how to make over $10,000 a month buying things to resell. How I made $2,750 in my first month of buying things to resell and how to make an extra $20,000 this year.
Airbnb, Airtasker and Other Random Gigs
As time went on, more options for making money came up. Renting out a room on Airbnb (read my full guide on how to make money with Airbnb), renting out my garage on Spacer, random gigs on Airtasker (check out what I did, how much I made and what you need to know about how to make money with Airtasker).
I trialled numerous ways and wrote about them. Including medical trials, which I found and applied for online but had to physically go into the hospital for. Market research was paying $100hr and the more I looked, the more I found ways to make money,
Look for Ways to Save Money
Along with making extra income, I read articles, blogs, joined forums and Facebook groups on ways to save money. I tried everything and there were many mistakes along the way.
Having grown up in a frugal family, I already knew a lot but there is always more to learn. I loved some of the communities I was part of, the friendships that developed and tips I learnt.
Books were recommended, podcasts and other resources. Overall, along with increasing my income, I was able to massively reduce our expenses too.
Now, I am more flexible but that is because I prioritise my time with my family. So sometimes I will spend a little more if it means I save time. Also, I don’t do anything and everything to make money. I am protective of our time and lifestyle so I seek out what will make or save us the most in the least amount of time.
My original goal to make enough to pay for my phone and internet was easily achieved in the first month so I started aiming for higher income. Because of this, I was able to leave an abusive marriage, travel the world, protect my kids, secure custody and enable us to have the life we have now.