By Stephanie Spillmann 8/26/17  There may be affiliate links in this post. Learn more here.


20 Ways to Leave Your Mother: Budgeting Tips


20 Ways to Leave Your Mother: Budgeting Tips


Living with your parents can be a great advantage, and it sure helps when you’re saving up for your own place. When it’s time to leave the nest, finding ways to earn more and budgeting to spend less will ultimately result in a less stressful transition.


Here are 20 budgeting and earning tips to help you become independent. Mom can rest easy knowing you’ll brush your teeth every day and always come back to visit.


Get Educated


girl studying at coffee shop


  • There’s a huge variety of continuing education options these days. Visit your local community college or online degree programs for information about earning a two-year degree. Financial aid can make this extremely affordable, and many classes are offered on weekends and evenings. Check out this list of highest paying associate degrees. 


  • Did you know that there is a national court reporter shortage? Median salaries for court reporters nationwide top $50,000 per year and can exceed $90,000 for this two-year degree. If you have the fastest fingers in the West, why not earn a great living with your strange talent.


  • If you’re a good writer and would like to earn money doing what you love, try your hand at freelance writing for companies and blogs online. I highly recommend this awesome course to get you started. With some determination and hard work, you may be earning in less than a few months. Holly Johnson’s Earn More Writing Course gives a great return on investment.


  • For all you word nerds and those who cringe at typos and grammar mistakes, a proofreading business might be a perfect fit. Self-published authors are coming out of the woodwork. Guess what? They ALL need editors and proofreaders. My favorite course ever is the excellent and thorough General Proofreading Theory and Practice by Caitlin Pyle. Dedicate a few months to some solid study, and you’ll be on your way to marketing your new proofreading business.


electronics on desk


Sell Your Stuff


  • Any old technology you have lying around, such as yesteryear’s iPhone, gaming consoles, and that Kindle you’ve never used — sell them on Amazon or Craigslist and put a little more cash in the bank.


  • Textbooks are hot commodities, especially on the used market. If you took some classes this year or last, gather those books up and get them listed online at Amazon, eBay, or Chegg. Cha-ching! You could end up with a few hundred more dollars.


  • If you’re like me and occasionally receive gift cards you’ll never use, don’t let them sit around. Great sites like Cardpool and Card Kangaroo will make you an offer right on the spot and email a label so you can drop it in the mail and cash in.


  • Start your very own Amazon business with no storage or shipping hassles. The Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) program is growing at breakneck speed. Imaging selling your products and not having to store inventory or do your own shipping? Amazing.


coffee and pad of paper


Start a Side Hustle


  • If you own a truck or van, you may want to consider becoming a driver for GoShare and make some good money in your spare time. GoShare offers its customers the convenience of having someone pick up and deliver large items/furniture that won’t fit in a normal-sized car. GoShare drivers earn between $50-$60 an hour.


  • Become a driver for Lyft .  I have heard really good things from drivers who work for Lyft. They tell me that the company is great to work with, pays fairly, and allows tipping through the app.

** I cannot recommend Uber at all. I would not recommend working for or using them. Too many drivers have told me they’re not a good company to work for and the ones who have switched to Lyft are much happier. As a consumer, Uber has terrible customer service and charged a cancellation fee when a driver abandoned me in the rain and never showed up.


  • If your car is just sitting in the driveway, rent it out for a day or two and rake in some quick cash with Turo. This disrupter of the overpriced car rental industry is super-hot right now. Turo even covers your car with up to $1 million in liability insurance as well as 24/7 roadside assistance.


  •  Tap into the lucrative pet sitting industry by signing up with Rover or listing your services with People are crazy about furbabies. They’ll spend big bucks on the best care while they’re away. Some Rover workers make over $1,000 per month part time.


  • Start a blog. If you have a love for writing and you’ve got some expertise in a certain area, running a blog on the side could bring in some extra cash. Affiliate marketing partnerships are abundant. Amazon and other giants will pay you good money to refer their products to your blog audience. It’s easy and very affordable to start your own blog. You can get web hosting plus a FREE domain name with Bluehost for just $3.49 per month. 


girl shopping


Shop Smarter


  • Most cities have amazing second-hand and vintage shops where fashionistas can find designer threads without breaking the bank. If you don’t want to leave the house, try ThredUp for great buys on high-quality clothing for women, juniors, and kids. There’s also Swap and Poshmark that caters to men, women, and kids.


  • Use the old-fashioned cash envelope system if you want to reign in your grocery and entertainment spending. If you’re serious about saving for your own place, set aside a budgeted amount from each paycheck in cash. Use this cash envelope every time you grocery shop or eat out. Once the money’s gone, it’s time to get creative with leftovers.


guy with suitcase


Travel Smarter


  • On your next trip, skip the rental car companies and rent a regular Joe’s car with Turo. You’ll be glad you did. Rental car prices are ridiculous these days, especially if you only need one for a day or two. With Turo, you’ll pay a small fraction of the regular rental prices.


  • Along the same lines, don’t pay exorbitant prices for hotels when you can book a great room (or two) in a comfy house with Airbnb (click for $40 off your very first stay!) I’m staying in a sweet house, 10 minutes from the beach, next month in Carlsbad. The room is $58 a night. That’s a steal. ** Update: The Carlsbad home was amazing! I’m so excited that I’ve finally tried Airbnb. We’ve already got 2 more trips planned with them!


  • For a great card to help establish credit, consider a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card with Chase. Since Southwest pretty much beats any prices for domestic flights, you can really rack up the savings flying with points. Each $1 you spend earns you a travel point, and any Southwest purchases (or their travel partners) earn you double the flying points.


Your Own Home


tiny house in the woods


There is no better return on investment than making a monthly payment on a home of your own. Mom and dad may be extremely generous, but any money you spend in rent never comes back. When you’re finally ready to buy, here are a couple of less-traveled roads.


  • Consider investing in a tiny house. If you’re single and don’t need a ton of space, there are some incredibly beautiful miniature options. The best thing — you can own your home in its entirety for less than $40,000 in many cases (and much less for some models). Tiny house villages are springing up all over the country to share land costs and add a sense of community.


  • If you’d prefer the conventional route and your dream house seems totally out of reach, all is not lost. Most states offer down payment assistance programs for buyers who are at low- to mid-income levels. This money comes in the form of a grant that never needs repaying. DPA programs can assist with up to 5% of the loan amount.


There you have it — at least 20 ways to get creative with your money and spread your wings. I hope your mom’s not crying.


If you’ve never rented or owned a home before, it’s important to establish credit. Read my related post: What to Do if You’ve Never Had a Credit Card

And sign up for our FREE Guide of the Top 10 Credit Cards for Beginners!




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Ready for a place of your own? Make money selling with Amazon, side hustles, sell gift cards, start a blog. You can also utilize affiliate marketing, have side jobs, work from home, save money, budget better, budget when you travel, use Airbnb, pet sit, and take courses at home to increase skills.

5 Responses

  1. Nina Misteli says:

    Wonderful tips Stephanie! Personally, I didn’t know about the pages that let you swap gift cards, this is a quite helpful article! Thank you so much for sharing those tips! 😀

    • Stephanie Spillmann says:

      Thank you so much, Nina! I just found out about the gift card swap sites this week and have already send a gift card away for cash. Not too bad. 🙂

  2. Jill Branfon says:

    Great post Steph.. informative, and got me thinking, thank you.. I really like the way you have set it up as well.. bravo

  3. Jill Brandon says:

    Great posting Steph.. easy to read, informative, and well laid out. Some great tips.. thanx😃

    • Stephanie Spillmann says:

      Thank you, dear friend, for your sweet comments! I’m so enjoying my new site. WordPress and I get along a little better now. 😉

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