:::: MENU ::::

Video Interview for Gift Card – Score!


I’ve never been one for filling out surveys online for money. But in the last year, as a Walmart shopper, I have been invited to several surveys for points and as you earn more points, you get e-gift cards. I’ve probably spent 15 minutes total on these surveys and earned $20 in Walmart gift cards.

This works great for me since I do most of my grocery shopping using their shop online/pick up service and frankly, they are really the only store around for most things in our tiny town.

But a week or so ago, they called to ask if I would consider doing a hour and a half video interview and they would pay me $150 in a Walmart gift card.

My interview was last night….


Since we are traveling to Chicago in a couple of weeks, I’ve decided to try a “eat through the pantry” month for February and only use the $150 gift card for groceries. That will free up $400 in my budget. I’ll be working on a meal plan tomorrow to make things stretch as far as I can.

My Other Side Hustle

On a side note, I think I mentioned that I signed up on Rover.com last fall as another potential side hustle. Well, it’s been a bust so far. BUT, I was contacted this past weekend by a couple new to town with two dogs looking for a regular dog sitter. It’s an extra income for me to remit money back home.

We met yesterday and it looks like I will be getting steady work from them to watch their two fur-babies when they travel. I don’t anticipate it will be a lot of extra $$ but every little bit counts, right? And it will be super easy, since they want me to keep their dogs at my house…

No more work then watching my own dogs…


  • Reply Anonymous |

    Hope, I would be interested in hearing more about how your health insurance and associated costs fit into your budget? Did you end up choosing the cost-sharing option? Does your insurance cover test supplies for your diabetes and do you have a line for this in the budget? Also, have you noticed an increase in your food budget trying to stick to a more diabetic friendly diet?

    • Reply Hope |

      I did go with a cost sharing option. And have been very pleased with how easy and low cost it is.
      We rarely go to the doctor. And I am now off all my diabetic meds, although I am taking a low dose anti-depressant (for the last year since Gymnast moved away.)
      I have not needed to purchased diabetes supplies as my parents both had excessive amounts of monitors and stabby things (not sure what they are called.) But I never had to check it daily either so was able to stretch them.
      My dad has also been able to come off all his medicine with changes to diet.
      So as far as my budget goes, I do not have a medical line item because frankly our medical spending is pretty much non-existent. $10 here or there for a prescription, but otherwise, nothing other than over the counter meds as needed.

      • Reply Jen |

        You have got to be kidding me. Did your son’s unexpected hospitalization and surgery teach you nothing?

        You are one unexpected health disaster away from bankruptcy.

        • Reply Hope |

          I’m not sure what you mean…we have insurance. It covers anything that may happen.
          We just haven’t really had to use it. I don’t know why I would add a line for medical expenses when we don’t typically have them.

          • Jen |

            Those faith-based cost share things are NOT insurance. They are simply a way to reduce your costs. They are not regulated at the state or federal level, so you have ZERO protections if a claim is not paid or coverage denied. They also don’t have to comply with ACA regulations–meaning they can kick you off for a pre-existing condition, adult children are kicked off before they turn 26, and they often have lifetime coverage limits.

            They have morality clauses and they will drop you for any perceived violation of those clauses. Get raped, get pregnant and need medical care? Well you violated the clause about only engaging in sex in marriage. Denied and dropped. You have a [insert medical condition here], and your doctor thinks that birth control will help with the symptoms? A lot of those sharing plans do not cover birth control at all, for any reason. They may also view it as a violation of the morality clause.

            Even in the best of circumstances, they are a terrible idea. For someone who’s bringing home $5900/mo post tax with a dependent child and chronic health condition, it is plain STUPID that you do not have real insurance.

  • Reply Katie |

    I’m sorry to hear they’re your only option for shopping. They are a lousy employer, and are only good at keeping their employees in poverty. They also utilize Medicaid as a business tool, rather than ensuring their employees are eligible for employer-sponsored insurance. So, we taxpayers end up subsidizing those low prices. Whenever you can, shop at Costco.

  • Reply Jen |

    If you’re bringing enough home to cover your $5900/mo budget, why are you even doing these things? That’s 70,800/yr, after tax. Pre-tax, your income would need to be six figures to cover the budget you outlined. At that rate, your time is much more wisely spent than getting $15/hr or so on Rover, and doing surveys for gift cards, or substitute teaching.

    • Reply Hope |

      Essentially all my side gigs are “passive” income. Meaning I don’t lose any of my regular income by doing them…it just adds. And frankly I enjoy the variety.

      • Reply Laura |

        If the Walmart survey took and hour and a half of your time, that’s an hour and a half that could have been used in your normal business. Based on the numbers you posted, earning $150 from and hour and a half of work is not worth it. So far, you have earned nothing from Rover but spent time creating a profile and meeting with this family (and possibly others). That’s fully a loss of money in that time is money. This is all work that is taking your time. I think you should go back and look more into what “passive income” means, because these “side hustles” are not passive.

      • Reply Jen |

        None of your “side gigs” are passive income. Passive income is income that happens with little to no daily effort on your part, and is repeatable. Investing in the stock market is passive income. Spending 90 minutes doing a Skype interview is not passive income. The closest thing you have is pet sitting in your home, but it’s not been shown to be repeatable.

        These side jobs are all jobs that are taking away from your ability to grow your business or take on extra work. And with a 70k post-tax income, every single one of those “gigs” needs to make you more than you make per hour at your business. And that would be just under $35/hr, post tax. Otherwise, you’re losing money.

        • Reply Katie |

          Great points from Jen. Interest, rental income, the sock market, those are passive. The options Hope’s engaging in are side gigs. I understand needing variety and a mental break, but it would be more profitable to spend that time working at her normal rate.

        • Reply Ellen |

          I usually agree with the comments people make on here regarding Hope and some of her decisions. However, I don’t agree with saying that making $150 in an hour and half is not worth her time. You’re talking about something that equates to $100/hr. If she’s making just under $35/hr (let’s round up to $35) she’s making $280 in an 8 hour shift. She just made more than half of that in an hour and a half. These surveys and interviews are tax free. I used to do focus groups all of the time. Some of them pay well for a minimal amount of time. Even so, who is anyone to say that she can’t take an hour and a half of her own time to do something that she wants to do to make her a little extra cash. Whether it’s a survey, rover, or hell Door Dash. She’s not necessarily taking away from her work time. She’s not a mule, she gets to live and enjoy too. what she does with her time outside of her clients’ time is extra. She doesn’t need to work more, she chooses to. And these little “side gigs” are helping her and believe me; they add up. If she wasn’t in a small town, she could really make some decent money doing some of these things.

  • Reply Laura |

    Hope, make sure their dogs and yours meet sometime before they come to stay to make sure everyone gets along. Good to hear there was some interest with that.

  • Reply Margann34 |

    I also live in a small town, rural area. We have one grocery store which can be quite expensive as well as Dollar General and Family Dollar. We have a walmar 20 miles away which has much more variety, cheaper Prices and some products that can’t be found elsewhere. My next options are literally 100 miles away. So for small rural communities, Wal-Mart is one of our main options. Plus, they do employ a lot of people in an economically depressed area. A Wal-Mart job is better than no job. But they do use certain tactics such as not offering full time schedules to limit their benefits. So they may not be the best option but sometimes they are the only option and we are glad to have them!

    • Reply Jen |

      Until their building gets old and they decide they don’t want to build a new one, and they just close. That’s happened a lot in my area, which is also rural.

      They come in, run all the competition out of business, and up and leave with no warning.

So, what do you think ?