GYA writer Heather Rayne Geyer relied on personal experience to answer this question. Here’s her response:
Since becoming a stay-at-home parent, I have searched for different ways to make a few bucks here and there. And while there are many legitimate ways to make some money from home, usually the ads you see are not ones to which you want to respond. If you EVER have to pay ANY money – do not do it. You should not have to pay to work. If it is based on commissions, again, I would stay clear.
I have found some Mystery Shopping Companies that are legitimate and fairly simple. You apply, and then once accepted, you will be able to choose from a list of open "shops." But if you are looking to make a living, this is not the way to go, as most shops pay from between $2-$25 depending on the job. Some can be more – but it takes much more time and effort. I will list a few company sites I have personally worked for – and have been paid:
I have also done surveys – again – this does not pay much. Usually $1-$30 per survey. The higher amount surveys are rare, typically it is a buck or two that will be deposited into your Paypal account. For many of these mystery shop sites and survey sites, you will need a Paypal account. Here are a few companies I have done surveys for and have been paid as promised:
I have yet to find a data entry or assistant type telecommute position which appears legitimate and does not require a fee. I do have a resume on the most popular sites under the title of Virtual Assistant, however. Virtual Assistants are becoming more common across the country … but I have yet to get a bite.
Best of luck to you!
We posted this on the GYA blog at
GYA Writer Heather Rayne Geyer added: I have done this (well, started – it is a hard job, especially if you don’t want to pay money to do it like me). First, I checked with the SS Death Index. I got some dates of birth, dates of death, birthplaces and places of death (I think). But that is only if the person collected SSI.
is helpful to a point without subscribing, and just using Google to search for some names is helpful. This is how I found out where my grandfather was buried in California and where he worked at one time.
For relatives who came to America, you can try
which is free. You can also find census records on the Web.
I then went to local cemeteries and went into the office and they helped me look up names to see if they were buried there. If so, I went to the grave sites which often gave middle names and exact dates of birth and death. You might also find relatives you didn’t know you had if, for example, there is a family plot or you find same last names buried next to one another (this happened to me).
I remember being a young single woman with no children. I would get annoyed with the crying kids in the stores. I would get furious with the screaming ones. I would never understand why the parents didn’t seem to even hear their children as their piercing screams stabbed through my eardrums. Or see them bolt down the aisle like the road runner for that matter.
I remember before having children I would say things like “I will never do that when I am a mom.” Or “My child will never…” just fill in the blank. I didn’t say these things often as I was aware of my own obvious ignorance. I mean, you really don’t know until you are a parent – right? Well, for the most part.
I was lucky and helped raise my stepdaughter since she was 14 months old. So I did have some experience by the time my daughter was born. But I had no idea what mothering an infant would be like.
There are some promises I made to myself which I have completely abandoned. And then there are some things in which I have been unwavering.
What have I relinquished?
Letting my child sleep with a bottle – this even went on to letting her sleep with a sippy until her 2nd birthday. Yes, I am ashamed
Using pull ups during the potty training transition – okay…so they are very helpful after all
Exclusively breastfeeding for the first few months – I simply couldn’t keep up so I had to supplement sooner than I expected
Using threats and bribes – ugh
Telling my child to “be careful” constantly – I know this is bad. I am working on it. I promise. But these kids are like little Evil Knievals!!
Letting my child watch the same movie 2 days in a row – Now, this is better than some kids who are allowed to watch the same movie over and over in the same day…right??
What pledges have I held?
Never letting my child sleep in my bed – in her own cradle/crib/bed from day one
No bottles after one year – still on sippies at 30 months though
No candy before 2 years – and really that is a very rare occurrence
Not bringing my infant/toddler to a movie theatre – can someone explain why anyone would do this?
Constant love and kisses – I mean, come on…she is the cutest child ever on earth
No baby beauty contests – yuck
No Barney – double yuck
Promptly remove all boogers ASAP – please people…wipe those little noses so we don’t all have to be subjected to those lovely snot bubbles and cemented nostrils
Keep track of most milestones in baby book – I wish we had done this with my step daughter
Take LOTS of pictures – Lots. Too many. It’s really ridiculous actually
So, what pledges have you abandoned? Which have you kept? Any regrets on either??
I haven’t written in a while. Guess I have been a little busier, about the same amount of lazy and a tad ‘writing-ed’ out.
My husband went up north with a friend for a few days. He left on Thursday, which incidentally was our 4th anniversary. He took that day off and we went to Red Lobster (lame to most, but I like it) for a late lunch and he left that evening. He came home Sunday evening, thankfully because I am exhausted. One thing I can say about him is that he is pretty good at helping me with the kids when he is not working. We share the kid responsibility in the after work hours and on weekends. Which – yes – is how it should be. But I hear much too often that is not the norm. So, I am grateful for that. Because being a stay at home mom, by the end of the day – I need my 30 minutes on the treadmill away from everyone. I need some help with the discipline. I need him to take them away for an hour once in a while. I may sound like a spoiled baby. But for as long as I have known me – whats it been – 33 years now? Anyway, I have ALWAYS been someone who needs more downtime than the average person. Which is actually a strong ‘symptom’ of being an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). I need quiet every so often or I feel as though my head will explode. And I just need my moments to breath and release those muscles that I hadn’t realized had been quite tensed all day. You know that feeling? When you accidentally relax and it is at that moment when you suddenly realize that a particular muscle must have been tightened and tensed for the past 3 days without you really being conscious of it? Anyway, that happens to me ALL of the time. So when he came home, I was ready for him to help out with who had once been my sweet lovely daughter.
Once been? Yes. She has somehow been invaded and is now unimaginably NAUGHTY. She defies me any chance she can find. And she thinks it is hilarious. It is not like she is spoiled or gets away with it. I am quite consistent and she most certainly has consequences. But she just doesn’t care about them. About 75% of her toys are in the basement right now. She has the ‘naughty chair’. She gets time outs. None of it helps. I also do positive reinforcement. When she is particularly nice or helps out – I give her happy stickers and she gets to pick out one of her confiscated toys to bring back upstairs. I know, I know. She is in those ‘terrible twos’ you hear so much about. But does this mean that in 3 months she will be my darling little angel again?? (Say yes. Please…say yes).
I have been taking these writing assignments from that California magazine that I have posted CD Reviews for in the recent past. I had written an article about the origin of hops, the origin of the tortilla, a few more CD reviews and have one due Tuesday on students having pen pals. It’s not exactly the kind of writing that floats my boat. And there is no pay involved. It also takes up a bit of time and adds some anxiety to my plate. So why do it? To practice. To write. To see my name in print is even a motivation – as silly as that may seem. Perhaps it will lead to something someday. Who knows. Cross your fingers, eh?
Today was Father’s Day. As some of you may know, my step father, Randy, raised me with my mom. And I am very grateful for that. He could always be counted on in those moments of dead cars, rides home from parties gone bad and not to mention braces, medical bills, clothing and everything else a kid needs. My dad was in and out of my life since the age of 7. And he died when I was 23. He was 46. I miss him incredibly. Not the guy who inhabited his body the last couple years of his life, but the man I knew before that. So funny and witty and smart and sarcastic and childish. That guy. I wish I saw him in my dreams more often. I have such vivid and life-like dreams. Others dream of their loved ones who have passed on. Why don’t I? Once in a blue moon he or one of my grandmas will pop in. But VERY rarely and I think that totally blows. Are they simply too busy? Did they never really like me? What the hell! Anyway, I really miss my dad and I hope he had a good father’s day. In his honor I ate a shit load of junk food and watched a couple movies this weekend.
Speaking of movies…I have seen a few good ones in the past couple weeks. The Fountain, The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio and Shut Up and Sing. All were quite good and much better than I had anticipated. I also watched All the Kings Men (new remake with Sean Penn) which was interesting – not great…but good.
Before that (cannot remember if I had mentioned) I had seen Little Children, Notes on a Scandal and Children of Men. All three were FABULOUS. And all very different and great for different reasons.
Since I have seen so many, I will make a separate post about the movies. Not really reviews because that would take a while…but just brief jots on how I felt about them.
Oh, I added a couple cute pics of Cassidy (and some unfortunate ones with me in them) to the May/June 2007 Album.
Anyway, like I said earlier, I am exhausted. So I must end now before my head violently hits the keyboard and I drool on the laptop causing some horrible electrical shock which will kill me and most certainly ruin the computer. So…nite nite.
In hearing the latest reports about the windfall profits made by Exxon this past quarter, I am appalled. Yes, certainly companies are supposed to make a profit. That is the whole point of consumerism and the basis of this dollar sign emblemed country. I get it. But when these profits are inflating (more like exploding) the pockets of a slight few while the remaining 99 percent of the country are digging for pennies under their car seats…something is terribly wrong.
It is becoming more and more clear to me the motives of our current administration in regards to the war in Iraq as well as their apparent blindness to the problems their oil comrades are creating. The war is making money for all of them. While soldiers are dying and citizens are going broke paying their gas bills, they are quietly reaping the benefits. I was not against this war in the beginning. Of course I am in favor of fighting terrorism. I am not however in favor of sending people to die to line the pockets of the elite minority.
Right now I am imagining HW Bush, GW Bush, Cheney, Lee Raymond (CEO Exxon), Jeroen van der Veer (Shell CEO) all attending a Halloween Ball.
They are dressed appropriately of course as Chandler, Joey, Rachel, Phoebe, and Ross. Isn’t it clear what is happening here? This is nothing short of economic rape. Please explain to me why this is okay.
Raising the cigarette tax is beneficial in so many ways. For one, eventually the price WILL get hefty enough to encourage people to quit. They will have no choice. The more people in our society who smoke, the more the financial burden there is on EVERYONE. It costs companies more to insure their employees. It raises insurance costs to those who have never even lit up. And the medical complications that arise from smoking also raise healthcare costs to unbelievable proportions.
Information gathered from USA Today: according to a study in 2004 by health economists, the combined price paid by a smoker’s family and society is about $41 per pack of cigarettes. This estimation is based on the costs for a 24-year-old smoker over 60 years for cigarettes, taxes, insurance, medical care and lost earnings because of smoking-related disabilities. So, smokers are already paying at least $41 bucks a pack – what’s an extra buck or two? Everyone knows the damage caused by cigarettes. It is no secret. Why should we all ‘pay’ in so many ways?
This country is broke. And instead of taking away what is needed to make America a better place, instead of taxing the necessities in our lives – I say tax the heck out of what is destroying people to begin with. Smoking, alcohol, fast food…we know these are harmful and certainly not necessities so why not hike the taxes up on these and leave the gas tax (for example) alone? I am not saying they should be outlawed. I am not saying they should be banned. I am saying that if you want to do these things, then pay for it. Why should we all pay for their consequences equally? A cheeseburger here or there isn’t going to kill you. But the extra occasional tax won’t either. If you want to expose yourself to hundreds of different ailments from smoking – more power to you…but YOU pay for it.
I smoked for a long time. I had my moments with Jack and Coke too. And you bet I have eaten more Whoppers than necessary. But I have also seen the devastation these can cause, especially cigarettes. I support the tax – for so many reasons.