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It’s Not Free Money but It’s Free


As you can imagine, my substitute teaching side hustle dried up quickly when I began caring for my grandmother and then with the quarantine and schools shutting down. With the current state of things, I haven’t been able to come up with any additional side hustles and as I’ve been stating for the last couple of weeks, work is keeping me pretty busy.

That being said, I have continued to reach out to my network for any other options for picking up work…

And it worked.

Product Tester

I have become a product tester for a number of companies through a marketing agency. I don’t get paid for this particular side gig, but I do get free products. In exchange for the free products, I have to write a honest review. Sometimes I have to record a box opening video for them to use.

It’s been a lot of fun and we’ve gotten several neat products out of the deal, mostly hair and beauty.

The kids now run to the mail waiting for the next new product. They take turns being the initial tester or being the star of the video. Most of the products are health and beauty related. And most are things I would never, ever buy, more because of the crazy expensive price point. But we are having a great time trying out new things.

Lots of changes around the house…

Princess starts her job today, yeah!

We have a new foster child living with us. Long story and not one I will share here. There are minimal financial implications but nothing that will affect my current debt pay off plan. (Many long time readers know that being a foster parent is one of my greatest joys, but I have given it up. This is a personal connection with a long history.)

Gymnast will be leaving this weekend to head to Texas to stay with my parents for the next month or so.

There are lots and lots of things going on here that make my head spin. I’m so grateful for work. It keeps me grounded and happy.



  • Reply Katie |

    If you like product testing try Pinecone research.com. Also the ongo app all do product testing and surveys and are so fun and easy!

    • Reply Cwaltz |

      It says gymnast is heading to Texas so she may have the foster child in the room he had. Additionally children can and do double up. My boys shared a room. It wasn’t ideal (and oh Lord did they share it with me regularly how not ideal it was)but neither would living in a group home be during a pandemic and foster care has those. Hopefully Hope is not biting off more than she can chew.

      • Reply Hope |

        She is actually in the room with Princess. Thankfully they are very close in age and have actually been close friends since Princess began at the local public school a couple of years back. It’s a heartbreaking situation, like all foster kids, but this one has hit close to home because we have known her and watched this come to this point. But are very happy to have her.

  • Reply JP |

    Hope, I know you get some criticism but I think you have such a good heart. You do so much for your family and others.

  • Reply SHanna |

    I don’t always agree with your financial choices but you have a good and generous heart. Thank. you for giving a child a home during this crazy time.

  • Reply Ishita Dubey |

    Glad that you are a product tester now! It must be fun to receive free hair and beauty products. I hope that you get another side-hustle soon that pays well.

  • Reply Julie monroe |

    Good for you taking in another foster child a kind heart is much more important than a full bank account hope it is going well

    • Reply Laura |

      And why are they taking so long to be approved? I don’t know why they had to be moderated in the first place but if they are it would be nice if it didn’t take days to get approved.

      • Reply Hope |

        I’m not sure why the moderation began but they seem to only get approved when I log on and approve them. Not filtering them at all except for spam. All the comments good and bad are posted.

So, what do you think ?