How to Make Some Blood Money This Month

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January is National Blood Donor Month. Here's how to give – and receive.

This is National Blood Donor Month, so it’s a perfect time to share the story of a Money Talks News reader who figured out how to be noble and profitable at the same time.

Staci is a recent college graduate working in Texas for a chemical company as she pays down the student loans and credit cards she racked up in school. She’s also a regular blood and platelet donor.

The United Blood Service has a donor rewards program that works on a point system: Make an appointment for a donation, keep it, and receive 100 points. Give your donation, you get another 100 points. Become a “Gold Donor” – by donating 3-plus times in one year  – and you get an extra 100 points for every donation.

Once you get 400 points, you can redeem them for movie tickets or a free pint of ice cream from Baskin Robbins! Its hard to go to the movies when it costs $9-12 a ticket, but when you donate blood, you get to do something really great to help someone – and it’s a nice way to treat yourself.

Even though money is tight right now, I can still go to the movies occasionally with my friends and I don’t have to feel guilty about spending money on a ticket! Also, it helps to make date nights cheaper with my boyfriend.

Of course, donating blood isn’t for everyone. It does involve needles. And there are other caveats, as Staci reminds us…

You can only donate red cells/whole blood every 6 weeks, but you can donate platelets every 7 days – and platelets are needed just as much as blood, since cancer patients receive those and they have a very short shelf life of five days.

Whole blood takes about 30-45 minutes to donate, and platelets can take 60-90 minutes. And not everyone qualifies to donate blood. But for those who are young and in good health like myself, it’s a great way to be able to indulge every once in a while.

As for paying off her debt, Staci is already on top of that: “Just from reading your articles,  you’ve helped me pay off $2,000 of debt in just three months. It’s such a relief to each month see the balances getting smaller and smaller.”

Now that’s something you can take to the (blood) bank.

Stacy Johnson

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