shutterstock_105057206.jpgEvery time I check my mailbox there are approximately three to five catalogs full of goodies for me to peruse. I’m sure somewhere down the road someone got my name and address and passed it on with a note, “this lady is a sucker and loves to catalog shop,” is how I imagine it. All jokes aside, I do love to dream and decorate my home, shop for new outfits and accessories, and even garner ideas from catalogs. Of course now we live in a day and age of Pinterest and Houzz – which I love dearly - but there is something about a magazine and its glossy spread that just entices me to thumb through.

This is never a problem as I am just “window shopping” until I get to that one page. You know, the one where you just HAVE to have whatever it is. It could be that gorgeous turquoise leather Fossil® purse, a dress from Old Navy®, or maybe it’s a big dream like a couch out of the Pottery Barn® catalog. No matter what it is there is one thing for sure in the Crooks household – it is extra and it is out of budget.

Now, I learned a long time ago when I had babies and wanted to hire someone to help me clean the house that if you “ask” or discuss anything extra of my husband you have to be able to follow it up with where the funds will be coming from or what else will be given up in return. You can’t have something for nothing. It never works that way.
I know very well I am not the only mom out there who browses her favorite catalogs, wants to go out to eat on Friday night versus cooking, or occasionally wants to be serious about purchasing a new couch.

Depending on how much extra money you need to raise there are some easy and quick ways to find some cash. Get creative. You have talents and ideas so tap into them. Channel the good energies that you are receiving from that wanted or needed item that is canvassing the catalog pages.

The most common way that I see parents earning extra cash is to start a small home business or do direct sales. Those, though, typically require some sort of initial investment. Another way to get around the investment is to work freelance and utilize your talents– check out sites like,, or to see if you are contractible.

If you are a stay-at-home parent you might just add to your brood and make some extra cash by babysitting, dog sitting, or even plant/house sitting.

Do you have a talent? Perhaps you’re crafty and could sell your creations/wares at a local craft shop. If you’re a gardener you could sell your fruits and veggies at the local farmer’s market.

Most all of us have some old stuff lying around. Consider having a garage sale or selling old gold jewelry back to a jeweler.

One of my favorite ways to earn money back in college was to be a mystery shopper. The Mystery Shopping Providers Association has a list on its Web site of reputable mystery shopping companies.

Last but not least, you could get a part-time job. For some of us that is easier said than done. If you’re a stay-at-home parent with little ones getting a part-time job might not be possible. Then again, it might also look like a highly desirable twenty-hour-a-week vacation.