Just like any other family out there, we are always looking for ways to save money and be smarter with our funds.  Where cheer is concerned though, it becomes a bit of a challenge.  Got to have good shoes to make sure that our little cheerleader has the proper equipment to fly and tumble.  Then there is the uniform, warm ups, make up, bow, practice clothing, competition fees, cross-over fees. . .  I could go on, but you get the picture.  The expenses all add up as the time goes on.

                While looking for a way to save money, I actually found a way to MAKE some extra money as well as to help out others.  What is so crazy about it is that it has been right under my nose all this time and I never thought about it.  As a matter of fact a lot of friends of mine have done it and they continue to in order to earn extra cash.  Why in the world didn’t I think of this sooner!saving

                Before you are calling the police in my town to report illegal activity, let me tell you what I am doing – donating plasma.  Yes – you heard me right.  I am donating plasma.  I am a healthy cheer mom.  I try to eat right (thought I eat too much a lot of the time, but that is something I continue to work on), and I exercise all the time.  I play serious competitive volleyball.  I walk with my daughter when I can.  I just did a 5K run/obstacle course this past weekend (and loved it by the way!).  I am healthy.  Why I didn’t think of this option sooner I don’t know. 

                I went for my first session and got to go through the required testing.  I went into the lab that does this locally here (check your city for the nearest location that would offer this opportunity) and had to go through a “physical”.  They tested my blood to make sure that my iron and protein levels were good, and they physically checked my heart, lungs and made sure that I didn’t do any illegal drugs or lead a “high-risk lifestyle” (frequent prostitutes, do drugs, or use dirty needles).  I answered a series of health-related questions on a computer (took about 20 minutes), and then was lead back into the area where they have lounge chairs lined up next to machines.  In all honesty, it looked like a freaky horror film where they reproduce humans and use them for some sick experiments.  There were people of all ages – college students (we live in a college town), professionals, older adults, men and women all hooked up to these machines and giving plasma. 

 give blood               They were very nice and explained everything to me so that I was comfortable.  I sat down on the lounge with my cell phone (they told me it would take about 50 minutes for the donation; I needed something to do during that time!), resting my left arm on the special armrest with the inside of my arm bend up so they could stick the needle in me (yes – there are needles involved here).  They put the needle in (didn’t hurt any more than when you have blood drawn), hooked up everything, and then I sat there and pumped my fist for a few minutes, then resting for a few minutes.  Because I drink a lot of water, it went much quicker than they had told me (great thing!!), and I was out of there in about 30 minutes. 

                When I was done, I got a pre-paid Visa card with the first-time giver’s fee on it – $20.  The next time I get $40, and then the amount each time after that is $55.  They put it on the pre-paid Visa card, and I go on my way.  There is also a special coupon this month that if I sign up in August (which I did) and then go 5 times in the next 30 days they will give me another $100!  Who can’t use this money??  So in a month of giving, I am going to have $380!  I can give plasma 2 times within a 7-day period, and have to have at least one day in between.  I figure that if I do this regularly, I can use this Visa for hotel rooms and for gas to and from the competition.  Each month I can more than pay for a competition weekend without issue!

                I was surprised after speaking to some of the other parents that they also do this to make a little extra money.  Pay for cheer payments, purchase uniforms, fun money. . .  There are many different ways they use this money.  Some do it less frequently than others, but there are many that do it.  And why not do it?  It is some money that is handy, quick, and most importantly, it is all on your terms.  You only feel like donating once this week, then that is how you do it.  If you only want to do it once a month, that is fine, too.  You can even go once a year if you so choose.Money 

                There are a few things to know that will help if this is a course that you think you would like to go.  Drink a lot of water is the first thing.  This gives your blood a lot of fluid, which helps with the ease of the donation process.  The more fluid, the easier it moves in and out of the body.  Protein is another very in-need thing.  With higher protein levels it keeps the blood cells strong so that they don’t rupture during the donation process (something that can happen, but unless it is very frequent and happens in huge quantities it is nothing to be concerned about).  You are not supposed to go in to donate if you don’t feel well, if you have a cold, or if you are pregnant.  You won’t be able to donate if you take certain medications daily (see your local lab for details) or if you have certain medical conditions.  They take adults ages 18 to 69 years of age, and your weight will determine the amount of plasma you will donate.  Of course, the more you donate, the longer it takes. 

                If you do choose this route, I would recommend you taking a cell phone or tablet to pass the donation time and a sweatshirt.  I never get cold, but when they rehydrate you by putting saline back into your body you WILL get cold.  I started shivering very profoundly when it started, and would have given my donation money for a blanket at that time!  As I stated, I don’t really ever get cold, so for this to happen was rather surprising to me.  I didn’t get nauseous, and I didn’t feel faint at all.  They have water available to you if you need it, and there are professionals everywhere to assist if needed. 

                The entire time was rather quick, and I made some money in the process.  I am helping people that need plasma (this lab uses it for plasma-based medications for people), but there are many different type of banks and they use the plasma for different things.  Each one will also reimburse their volunteers differently.  The best thing to do is to go online to the labs that are in your area and find out what they do.  But I can honestly say that for the time it took me to do this, I will be doing this every week to help out with cheer expenses.  Then I can tell my daughter that I gave BLOOD for her to cheer!                

http://www.heartofcheer.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/give-blood.jpghttp://www.heartofcheer.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/give-blood-150x150.jpgPam SBlogHealthLifestyleParentscheer parents,cheerleading,fundraising
                Just like any other family out there, we are always looking for ways to save money and be smarter with our funds.  Where cheer is concerned though, it becomes a bit of a challenge.  Got to have good shoes to make sure...