10 Thrifty Themed Pinterest Community Boards To Follow

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What I love about being Thrifty in today’s world is how simple it is to find free sources of thrifty wisdom.

10 thrifty themed pinterest community boards to follow

One such source of free thrifty wisdom is of course Pinterest, and community boards are always the best for digging deep into all areas of thrifty. When you gather dozens to hundreds of bloggers who write about frugality and thrift and have them pin to one board you create a mass of thrifty knowledge.

Listed below are 10 thrifty themed Pinterest community boards that I currently  belong to, but if you have a thrifty themed community Pinterest board not on the list go ahead and tell me about it in the comments, so that we thrifty folks can follow it. If your thrifty themed community Pinterest board is  open to new pinners then tell those of us who would love to join how to best contact you for an invite.

10 Thrifty Themed Pinterest Community Boards To Follow

1. Frugal Living: Inspired BN Community

2. Thrifty Thursday@ LWSL

3. Frugal Freebies 4 Mom

4. Ultimate Frugal Homeschool

5.  Affording The Homeschool Life

6. Creative Ways To Pay Off Debt

7. Frugal Living Tips

8. We Heart Frugal Living Tips

9. DIY Tricks & Frugal Tips

10. Thrifty Christmas Tips

One More Thrifty Board  To Follow : My Saving Money Tips Board isn’t a community board but instead my personal thrifty living Pinterest board where I pin not just my own posts about thrifty living but those of other bloggers that I find when surfing the web or cruising Pinterest.

Once again if you manage a thrifty living themed community board I would love for you to share it in the comments below so that readers of this post can find other great boards to follow beyond the ten listed.

10 books you need to read if you want to be a thrifty ninja (small) Prefer book reading to pinning? Here are 10 books I recommend reading if you want to become a thrifty ninja. 

 

 

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3 Apps That Will Help You Earn More Swag Bucks

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Recently I was reading a comment thread on Facebook discussing ways to earn Swagbucks and I was surprised by all the people who did not know that Swagbucks had one app let alone 3  you could earn Swagbucks in.

3 Apps That Will Help Your Earn More Swag Bucks

 3 Apps that Will Help You Reach Your Swagbucks Earning Goals

1. Swagbucks: The Swagbucks app allows you to do a lot of the same things as you can do on the homepage of Swagbucks on your laptop. If you hit the Discover tab you can complete offers that interest you for Swag Bucks. Hit the Answer tab and you can take the daily poll. Hit watch and you are taken over to the EntertaiNow app to earn more Swag Bucks (see #3 for further details). Plus earn points randomly when you use the search bar found at the top of the apps home page. You can also check your balance and order rewards through the Swagbuck App.

2. Swagbucks TV :Earn 2 Swag Bucks for every 5 video clips watched up to 40 Swag Bucks per day. Best part, the app plays the videos one after the other without need to chose the next one and press play, meaning you can get the app going and then leave it so you can earn Swag Bucks while working on something else.

3. EntertaiNow: Earn 2 Swag Bucks for every 10 video clips watched up to 30 Swag Bucks per day. This app like the Swagbucks TV app plays continuously meaning you can do other things while it plays.

All three apps are available at either the iTunes store or at the Google Play store.

These 3 apps will help you reach your Swagbucks goals, and if you are wondering just how high you can get your Swagbucks earnings you might want to check out a few of my Swagbucks earning plans.

Not yet a Swagbucks member? Join Today!

Looking for ways to increase your monthly income from home? Follow my Selling & Earning Tips board on Pinterest.

A list of 17+ point progmas that will help your increase your income.Swagbucks is just one of many point earning programs that can be used to earn a bit of money from home. Here is a growing list of 17+ point programs that I have tested and found to work plus descriptions of what parts of each programs I have found to be worth the time and which ones aren’t.

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10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Camping

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Camping is something that I still feel like I am learning all things thrifty about. My family and I have been campers for 4 seasons now and I have learned a lot about how to keep the costs of camping down in those years, and am still learning.

10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Camping

 

10 Ways To Save Money On Camping

How To Save Money On Camping Supplies

1. Borrow

If this is your families first every camping excursion buy as little  as possible and borrow all that you can. This will allow you to make sure that your family really does enjoy camping before you invest money in a tent, sleeping bags and all the other things you think campers need.

2. Buy it used

Craigslist and Facebook buy and sell groups are great places to look for second hand tents, and other camping supplies.Don’t forget to look at yard sales too, I have found all we needed to outfit our new to us RV from various yard sales.

3.  Buy it on clearance

Even camping supplies go on sale as summer turns to fall.

4. Share

This differs from borrowing because you are purchasing articles together with friends and then using them at different times. Most people camp perhaps 2 to 3 weeks a year at most, so there is time in the season to share your stuff with others. Pick your friends or family wisely for this though, as it takes just the right friends to do this with and will require some written rules so that feelings are not hurt when lets say the tent breaks on your camping outing and the other couple expects you to pay the whole replacement cost even though it was a normal wear and tear break.

5. Use Reselling and Point Programs to help you with costs of supplies

For most families things like camp supplies are not going to be a regular line on the family budget. If you want to invest some money in camping supplies but can’t find the money in your regular pay checks, perhaps you could go through your house from top to bottom gathering all the things you don’t need, and throw a yard sale, or list big items on Craigslist. Consult my Reselling page for a list of all the different ways you can earn money reselling your items.

If you simply don’t have many items to sell, with a little more time you could earn the money for what you need through point programs. I have a list of 17+ programs that can help, as well as a plan for earning $30 each and every month with Swagbucks without filling in a single survey.

How To Save Money On Each And Every Camping Trip

6. Shop around for a campsite

Prices of campsites really do vary. For instance in our area we got to a great state park for right around $20 a night, but we have seen other private campgrounds in our area with less to do on their land charging as much as $70 a night.

7. Plan your camping trip menu at least one full week in advance

This is where I failed big time this trip. I made our menu up the evening before we left and went grocery shopping only 3 hours before departure. Needless to say we ate a lot more processed food than my tummy and my wallet liked.

By planning ahead you can think through how to simplify recipes for campground cooking. For instance you can make up homemade baking mix that you can use for pancakes and biscuits and even a quick pizza dough,  oatmeal packets, cookie dough, and even freezer bag crockpot meals (if you are RVing it like we do) which will save you time at the campground and money.

8. Make a master list of supplies

Nothing is worse than getting out to your campsite and realizing you forgot the tinfoil that half your recipes need forcing you to pay premium price for it at the campground store.  A master list stops this expensive problem in its tracks. Here is a basic outline of what to put on your master camping list.

9.  Plan for the unexpected

Bring along basic first aid items as well as Tylenol, Cough Drops, Benadryl and those monthly unmentionables.

These should go on your master list (number 8) but I listed them separate because it took me a few camping trips to realize that all these items should make it on my master list because you just never know and camp store Benadryl has high mark up, but when your daughter has a swollen face from mosquito bites that the bug spray didn’t seem to stop her from getting, you will pay anything to make the sweet thing feel better.

10.  Plan for a rainy day

The weather app may say 10 days of full sun ahead, but it isn’t always right and some rain may fall on your camping getaway. Instead of letting rain send you to the movies and dinner out in a nearby town thus emptying you pocket book, plan what to do should rain fall before you even leave the house. Here are 10 rainy day camping ideas that have worked for our family over the years, that are fairly inexpensive, another treasure trove of great ideas are these camping activity bags not all of them could be done in the rain but most of them could be and many of the supplies for the bags could be purchased at dollar stores.

Looking for more camping ideas? Follow my Family Camping board on Pintrest. Love money saving tips? Follow my Saving Money Tips board on Pinterest.

Linked to Saver Tips Tuesdays,

Check Out My Other Articles On Camping

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Paid Viewpoint: Survey Taking Simplified

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I have tried quite a few survey companies over the years and very few have I kept, but Paid Viewpoint is definitely a keeper.

Paid Viewpoint Survey Taking Simplified

Are you tired of long drawn out surveys? At Paid Viewpoint, their  average longer survey is reported to be about 5 to 6 minutes long and most that I have filled out so far have only been 2 minutes or under.

Do you hate it when you spend precious minutes filling out preliminary questions only to be booted out of the survey and earn nothing for your time spent? Paid Viewpoint pays you for each and every survey you complete, and you are not invited to a survey unless you qualify.

Sure the pay per survey is still low, I did a bit of research and it seems that the range is anywhere from .03 cents to .75 cents per survey meaning this point program will not make you rich, but when you add it to stream of other simple point programs  you could start seeing a total from all point programs combined that could put a bit of wiggle room in a tight budget.

A Few Things To Know About Paid Viewpoint.

1. You must have a PayPal account to be paid

Paid Viewpoint pays out only to PayPal accounts when you reach $15  in your account.

2. Make sure you enter all your information correctly

For some reason Paidviewpoint.com has a strange policy that if you change either your cell phone number or your email after you have signed up your funds are frozen for 180 days. They say that it is to avoid having people break the rules of having one account per person. So make sure to double check and triple check your account information before you press enter and you should be fine.

If either your email or cell phone should change however know that you will not be able to cash out for 180 days

3. Surveys will come to your email and are on a first come first serve basis

Surveys come to your email box in the form of links that you click on to go to the survey, so make sure that in your settings you have the email notifications on. At first the surveys you get  will be short 2 minute surveys that are worth .10 cents on average. I have been averaging one a day in my email account. These are called “trait” surveys and are meant to help Paid Viewpoint to get to know you better.

Once you have earned a higher trait score (more on what that is in a minute) you will start to receive “market research surveys” which are reported to be 5 to 6 minutes in length and have higher payouts (since I just started with Paid Viewpoint in early July I have not yet had one of these surveys yet but will try to update this post  with how long they took and what I was paid once I get a few).

4. Your Trait Score Is Important

Your Trait Score is a measure of your consistency of answers. This is why I think at first you answer so many trait surveys before you get a higher paying  market research survey.  Paid Viewpoint wants to make sure you are taking the time to  fully read the surveys and give honest answers so that they are truly helping those who pay them to give surveys to their members. Once you reach a trait score of 9000 the website states that you will start receiving more per answer.

I have been a member for 2 weeks so far and already have a trait score of 1390 and it is growing with each survey that I am completing. I am receiving a new survey on almost a daily basis so I am guessing it won’t take long to reach  the 9000 trait score.

Why I am going to stick to using Paid Viewpoint

After using Paid Viewpoint for the last 2 weeks, what I like the most about it is how quick and simple the surveys are to complete. I also loved that I am paid for my time from the first question. My biggest pet peeve with other survey companies is answering 2 to 3 minutes worth of questions only to get kicked out of the survey before it is completed and not earn a cent, with Paid Viewpoint that doesn’t happen, I am already accepted to every survey I am invited to and I will be paid something for my time.

Not a member of Paid Viewpoint yet? sign up today.

A list of 17+ point progmas that will help your increase your income.

Like point reward programs? Check out my growing list of 17+ point programs that can help increase your income. In the post I tell you what I like about each point  program and which activities earn you rewards the fastest.

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A Picture From Our Week: Simple & Thrifty Table Centerpieces

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This picture really isn’t from last week, but the week before, but  the end results of my last minute effort to make centerpieces for the 4th of July tickled my thrifty bone so much I had to share it.simple and thrifty table centerpiece ideas

We had 3 families over to celebrate the 4th of July with us. Between us we have 13 children. Little children don’t balance paper plates on their laps as well as adults do.

Up until this particular party we usually had the children sitting on the floor around coffee tables, not exactly making them feel like important guests.

I wanted to make the little visitors feel a bit more special this time. Of course, I decided I wanted to do this 30 minutes before guests arrived. These photos showed what I was able to pull off in 15 minutes so I could still fit in a quick shower and greet my friends with actual clothes on (we are close but not THAT close :) ).

Simple and thrifty table decorations for the 4th of JulyI started by dragging 3 card tables down from the attic. I have used these table for over 10 years now for yard sales and secondhand homeschool curriculum sales so they have more than paid for themselves. I then remembered that I still had the red and white checkered tablecloths from my daughters Teddy Bear picnic from years back stored with my other table linens.

I took all the chairs from around the dining room table which was going to be holding all the food for the party and therefore would have no room for seating and placed them around the table.

wooden primative houses as 4th of July table centerpieces

It was a breezy day and since I was setting up the tables on our front porch I knew I needed centerpieces that would hold the tablecloths down. That is where the creativity began.

I didn’t have time to run to the store for centerpieces , nor did I want to spend any money, so I used what I had on hand. I took the wooden houses off a table on my front porch and spaced them evenly around the table.

Glass jar full of ribbon for a quick and simple 4th of July centerpiece.I found 3 green glass ball jars that I had purchased at yard sales years ago and then went to my craft cupboard and found my big box of ribbons I had purchased also at a yard sale for just .50 cents one year. I dug through the ribbon box until I found one roll of blue ribbon, one roll of red and a roll of white (well silver and white but close enough).

I cut the ribbon into 3rds and placed one of each color in each jar, then placed the jars between the houses.

Each family as they arrived commented on how great the tables looked, and not a single child sat around a coffee table this year.

The total cost: Zero!

The houses, jars, tablecloths, tables and chairs all went back to their homes. The ribbon from the jars is back in my ribbon box to be reused on gifts or perhaps even on the 4th of July next year.

Now you might not have any of these things in your home, but you don’t have to the real lesson here, is to look at what you do own in a different way, and use it to create your own table and centerpieces for guests. 

You might not have card tables, but perhaps you have a long piece of wood and some saw horses you can make a table out of. You might not have as many chairs as I do, but perhaps you have benches, or you can ask your friends to each bring a few. You might not have glass jars, but you probably have a few glasses. You might not have ribbon, but perhaps you have marbles to weigh the glasses down with and pretty flowers growing in your garden to place inside them.

Take a treasure hunt around your home, and get into your creative zone, and see what you can come up with to make your guests feel just that much more welcomed.

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10 Books That Will Make You A Thrifty Ninja

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When I was first married I knew a small handful of  thrifty tricks but I soon realized I was going to need to learn a whole lot more of them if I wanted to be the at home mom I desperately wanted to be and not dig us further into debt (don’t worry we soon dug out of debt but that is another story).

I became a homemaker 19 plus years ago, so the internet was just really in its beginning stages and there was nothing like pinterest. So I turned to books to learn all I could about living thrifty.

10 books you need to read if you want to be a thrifty ninja

 

Today I still think reading books is an excellent choice for learning. The shear length of them as apposed to blog posts allows the author to go way more in depth than a blog writer can which means that you will learn more in depth secrets of how the thrifty stretch a buck  as far as humanly possible

10 Books That Will Make You A Thrifty Ninja

1. The Complete Tightwad Gazette

The Complete Tightwad Gazette is actually a collection of 3 books in one with added content. This is the ultimate thrifty collection of books. What I love most about the series is that it truly does cover every area of life and teaches you how to save money on it. I also love that the author Amy encourages her readers to take thrift to the level they desire and to meet goals of their choosing.

2. The Money Saving Mom’s Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Steamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year

Written by Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom the book The Money Saving Mom’s Budget is packed full of ideas of how to not only save money but make room in your daily schedule to perform the actions needed to save more money.

3. Cut Your Grocery Bill In Half With America’s Cheapest Family: Includes So Many Innovative Strategies You Won’t Have To Cut Coupons

If you want to cut your grocery budget yet still want to eat a healthy diet I highly recommend reading Cut Your Grocery Bill In Half. The family does use coupons but the book contains so many more ways of saving money on foods that you can’t normally find coupons on.

4. America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right On The Money: Your Guide To Living Better, Spending Less, And Cashing In On Your Dreams

Written by the same authors as number 3 America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right On The Money will help you understand how you can pay for vehicles cash, how you can live without debt and how you can live a life of less and yet feel like you are getting more.

5. Money Saving Secrets Of The Amish: Finding True Abundance In Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving

Money Saving Secrets Of The Amish goes further than buy less and you will save money. It will help you look closely at habits that with a little effort could be changed and when they are could save your family and others a significant amount of cash.

6. 1/2 Price Living: Secrets To Living Well On One Income

1/2 Price Living is written for those moms who don’t want to return to the work force, or those that have but want to come home. It shows you how to chop expenses in all areas so you can afford to be a stay at home mom. The book has a chapter on how to run an at home business without letting it take over your life in case living off one income just isn’t possible for your family even with all the cost chopping tips found in the book. I love the last chapter which is how to give even when your budget is tight.

7. Miserly Moms: Living On One Income In a Two Income Economy

After Tightwad Gazette Miserly Moms was one of the first books I read on how to trim expenses. This book contains some great frugal recipes as well as tips to cut your expense in all areas.

8. Pocket Your Dollars: 5 Attitude Changes That Will Help You Pay Down Debt, Avoid Financial Stress, & Keep More Of What You Make

Pocket Your Dollars is unlike any book on thrifty living that I have ever read before. The author divides the book into three sections. Section one addresses attitudes that keep you from managing your money well, and I suffer from a few of them from time to time. The second section teaches you the skills you need to help you turn your wrong attitudes about money around and the third section offers simple budgeting advice. If you keep falling off the thrifty wagon this is the book for you.

9.The Cheapskate Next Door: The Surprising Secrets Of Americans Living Happily Below Their Means

Written from inspiration the author received while doing an across the nation bike tour with his first book, The Cheapskate Next Door is full of real life examples of people living very happily on less than they make. These people share their secrets as well as their stories of why they continue to be thrifty even when they might not need to be.

10. Debt Proof Your Christmas: Celebrating The Holidays Without Breaking The Bank

Debt Proof Your Christmas is crammed packed with ideas of how to reduce every area of your Christmas budget. I think it is a must read for all those on a tight budget, as it takes what can be a very expensive time of the year and turns it into an affordable one.

What thrifty reads would you add to my list?

Looking for saving money tips? Follow my Saving Money Tips board on Pinterest

thrifty bookworms and swagbucks the perfect romance (smallest)Can’t find some of these thrifty reads at your local library? No problem use Swagbucks to pay for them. Click through to read how to earn $25 a month in Amazon gift cards to pay for books as well as ways to make those gift cards stretch further.

 

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Step by Step Guide To Shopkick

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I was researching for a project when I stumbled upon someone talking about the shopkick app. The writer mentioned that to earn points you didn’t need to buy anything, you simply had to check in at the store and scan products as you shopped.

step by step guide to shopkick the app that pays you to browse

As a person who loves point earning programs that actually pay, I immediately knew I wanted to check shopkick out  and then report my findings to my readers so that you too could start earning gift cards through shopkick.

Step by Step Guide To Shopkick

Although I now own a smartphone (Tracfone started offering them at a rate that was just slightly higher than what we were paying pre-smartphone) I wanted to try shopkick out using my 4th generation iPod so that those of you who don’t yet own a smartphone could see that the shopkick app still works even when you don’t have a data plan smartphone.

I found out that as long as the store you wanting to use for shopkick has free wi-fi, you can indeed sign in and collect kicks. I used my iPod at my local Meijer that offers free wi-fi and was able to claim clicks with no issues, proving that as long as you have a device with a rear facing camera for scanning you can use the shopkick app in free wi fi hot spots.

1. Sign up for shopkick

Follow this link and enter you cell number to receive a link to download the shopkick app.

Yes you could download app directly through your app store but if you use the link   you will be supporting me and my family through a small referral bonus at no cost to you. My family and I want to thank you in advance for using the referral link as it helps me be able to add to our families income, through providing you with ideas of how to add to your own families income here on the blog.

shopkick choose the area

2. Pick Your Area

After you have signed up and downloaded the App you want to pick the area in which you are planning to shop. It is very easy to change the area at any given time should you be shopping in a different town from time to time.

shopkick pick your store3. Pick the store

I was going shopping at Meijer so I picked Meijer for this tutorial. I first signed in to Meijers free wi fi through my iPod settings and made sure my location services for the shopkick app was on (also found in iPod settings). Then I went into the shopkick app and picked Meijer in my hometown.

shopkick scan area4. Click on scans to view what is available to scan

I clicked on the “Scans” area. In some stores there will be another box above the “Scans” area that will say ……kicks when you walk into….. Which means you earn points just for walking in the door and having that store picked and your locator on.

In the “Scans” area you will find a visual list of all the products that you can get kicks for scanning. For maximum rewards you could scan everything available but what I did was make a mental list of what was available to scan for kicks and then as I saw them while shopping for items on my list I took the time to scan them. I saw several items available to scan as I shopped, so this plan gave me rewards for very little extra time spent shopping.

shopkick pick the item you want to scan

5. Click on the item you want to scan

I saw the Similac formula across  the aisle from the cottage cheese I was buying so I decided it make it my first scan. Simply click on the picture of the item in the list of items to scan that you are ready to scan.

shopkick scan the barcode6. Click the scan icon and scan item

Once you have the item in your hand go ahead and click the scan icon found on the lower corner of the picture of the item you are scanning (it will show the amount of kicks you earn and have a barcode symbol on it). This will load up your camera and enable you to use the scan function of the app to scan the items barcode. To scan simply  line up the items barcode inside the square space of the scanner and hold still. In a few short seconds it should say “verifying scan” on the screen and a second or two later it will flash with a picture of your kicks earned inside a blue circle.

shopkick view balance choose reward

7. To view balance and choose a reward click on the person symbol

Your profile area will help you find out what your current balance is as well as all the current rewards there are available and how many kicks each one is. It is also the area where you will find your own referral link for sharing the app with your friends so that you can earn your own referral kicks (under invite & get kicks).

shopkick picking out a reward8. Choose the  reward you want

To view the rewards and figure out which one you want to aim for click on the  browse rewards tab found in your profile section. Scroll down and look at all the different options.

The apps has three reward options, electronic gift cards, physical items, and donations.

If you pick out a gift card, you may have several options for rewards. For instance the Target Gift card at the time I write this is available in the sums of $2 for 500 kicks, $5 for 1250 kicks, $10 for 2500 kicks, and $25 for 6250 kicks.

Shopkick is forever offering special deals for certain stores like the one that showed up on the app as I was writing this article where you got 200 kicks for walking in the doors of Macy’s or American Eagle.  Those type of deals would make it fairly simple to get to the 500 kick minimum Target gift card cash quickly.

So far I am very impressed with the selection of things available to scan as well as stores in which you can scan.  I will definitely be using the shopkick app in stores with free wi fi and I will be doing it in the same way I did the other day, I plan on taking just a few seconds to look up what is available to scan and then as I spot them shopping for items on my grocery list scan them, making shopkick a simple way to add a bit of earning to my weekly grocery shopping trip.

Sign up for your own Shopkick App. today.

Looking for more ways to earn money? Follow my Selling & Earning Tips board on Pinterest.

A list of 17+ point progmas that will help your increase your income.

Make sure to visit my Point Programs page for a list of sites and apps that can help add a bit of wiggle room to your families budget.

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Picture From Our Week: 6 Ways We Saved Money On Our Teenage Bedroom Makeover

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Last week I gave you a bit of a peek at the room we finished for our 18 year old son. As I was sharing a few of the details I thought it might be fun to do a run down of all the ways we saved money in the room.

6 ways we saved money on our teenage bedroom makeover

First lets start with a room tour.

Loft bed room from enteranceThis is what the room looks like when you view it from the door way. It is a small room so we wanted to really maximize the space. Thankfully the room had a vaulted ceiling so we used this to our advantage and created a loft bed for our son 8 feet up in the air so that his over 6 foot high self can walk under it without any problems.

couch and tv areaUnder the loft sits the yard sale couch and dresser that I found at a community rummage a few weeks back. 

tv areaMy husband and I decided against making this corner into a closet area as our son doesn’t hang a single item of clothes anyways,  and although it seemed like the most logical area in the room for a closet it was needed for his TV and gaming console more. If we should put our house up for sale, we already have plans to create a closet so that this room can be considered a 4th bedroom and add value to our home.

loft areaAbove his media area is his bed. My husband cut the top off an old ladder of his and added a wooden railing to it to make the ladder for the loft bed.

loft bedOur son picked out the duvet cover a few months back when he and I went to Ikea together to get inspiration for how to make the best use of the space in the room. I had a clearance found down comforter to place inside. We reused his mattress and pillows from the room he shared with his brother.

study area of teen roomWe reused his desk that was a yard sale found sofa table my husband altered and a yard sale found book case from another room. His alarm clock was originally in this room and was also yard sale found. The chair was in this room originally and was target clearance.

 6 Ways We Saved  Money On Our Teenage Bedroom Makeover

1. Yard sales

All pieces of furniture in the room with the exception of the mattress and the desk chair were found at yard sales. The curtains were also from a yard sale. All together we spend less than $200 on all the pieces.

Here are my best tips for successfully shopping yard sales.

2. We used odds and ends leftover from other projects

We painted all the furniture the same shade of black using floor paint that we had leftover from a previous project.

3. We used clearance priced items

The down comforter I got at Aldi’s for $15 on clearance.

Here are my best tips for shopping the clearance racks.

4. We used discounted gift cards

My husband used discounted gift cards from Cardpool to pay for all the supplies he needed saving us 7% on  the cost of supplies.

Here is how our family has saved up to $50 a month by using discounted gift cards.

5. We used free labor

My husband did 100% of the work for this room saving us the cost of labor.

6. We repurposed items from around the house

The chair, desk and alarm clock were in this room when it was a school room. The book case was in another room where it wasn’t really fitting, so we swapped it out for this room.

Our biggest savings were found in the couch we got for $100 and the dresser for $35. We had budgeted significantly more for these two items thinking that we might not find items small enough to fit in the space in the second hand market and would therefore have to buy them new. When I found both a couch and dresser for significantly less than what we budgeted my husband and I decided to use the money saved to update our other 2 children’s rooms.

How do you save money renovating?

Looking for money saving tips? Follow my Saving Money Tips board on Pinterest.

Linked to One Project At A Time,

swagbucks image (200wide)

Another way to bring down the cost of renovating that we didn’t use for this project is to cash in Swagbucks points for gift cards for stores that sell renovation and interior decorating supplies. Here is how you can earn $30 a month in Swagbucks with no need to fill out time consuming surveys.

 

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How Swagbucks Can Help You With Your Back To School Shopping

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Back to school shopping time will be here in a blink of an eye. I might homeschool my children but I attended public school as a child and so I can remember all the purchases that went along with going back to school.

How Swagbucks can help pay for your back to school purchases

It seems like most back to school purchases fit into one of two categories, school supplies or clothes, and Swagbucks can help you earn money to pay for purchases in both these categories.

A Swagbucks $5 gift card is 500 points and they have a great selection of different retailers that offer either school supplies or back to school clothing or both.

Gift cards available for stores offering school supplies

  • Target
  • Walmart
  • CVS
  • Kmart

Gift cards available for stores offering back to school clothes

  • JC Penny
  • Areopostle
  • Old Navy
  • Gap
  • Children’s Place

Now is a great time to start racking up the Swag Bucks so that you can cash them in for gift cards that will help reduce your cost of sending the kids back to school, and here is a plan of how you can earn $50 in one month with Swagbucks without having to fill out a single survey if you don’t want to.

How To Earn $50 A Month With Swagbucks

To earn $50  in Swagbucks gift cards a month you need 5000 points per month, (less if you are getting Amazon cards but for easier math we are sticking to 5000 for this plan), that works out to 1250 points a week. Here is how to achieve it.

1. Do the daily NOSO for 2 points a day = 60 Swag Bucks

2. Use the daily toolbar at least once a day for one point = 30 Swag Bucks

3. Complete the daily survey each day for one point = 30 Swag Bucks

4. Complete the daily tasks over at Bing Rewards each day = 500 Swag Bucks (bought for 475 Bing Rewards)

5. Run the Swagbucks TV App daily for 40 points = 1200 Swag Bucks

6. Click the Discover Tab and complete the Read tasks = 30 Swag Bucks ( this varies depending on what is available but just this week I was able to earn 30+ Swag Bucks in a matter of minutes so I know it is a safe estimate)

7. Download the EntertaiNow App and run the videos each day for 30 points a day = 900 Swag Bucks

8. Perform all you web searches through the Swagbucks toolbar or home page =400 Swag Bucks (I went through my Swagbucks earning history and found that I earned between 100 to 200 Swag Bucks a week through searches so this should be a realistic  number to aim at earning)

9. Do the Daily Crave each day for 1 point = 30 Swag Bucks

10. Run Swagbucks TV on you laptop while you are working in another window. Okay so this going to sound like a crazy amount of videos to shoot for and it is ,but please read #11 for ways to reduce the number of videos you need to watch. Also the animal channel has very short videos making the process go faster. Now for the math

numbers 1 through 8 give you 3180 points in one month leaving you 1820 points short of the 5000 Swag Bucks per month goal. To get those last remaining Swag Bucks using videos you need to watch 203 video shorts a day (202.66 actually but you don’t earn points for a partial video so I rounded up :) )

11. There are other things you can do to make the 5000 Swag Bucks a month total we are aiming for with this plan, but the Swag Buck earnings for them vary so much per person that I suggest you keep track of what you earn with them so you know how many videos to cross off your need to watch to make 5000 Swag Bucks a month list.

  • Shop through Swagbucks shop and earn feature: Points per store vary and it does take a while for your Swag Bucks to be added to your account but they do really add up.
  • Print and use coupons for the Swagbucks coupon area. Every coupon you print and use is worth 10 Swag Bucks
  • Buy your daily deals through Swagbucks. Instead of shopping through emails from you favorite daily deal sites or their Apps when you see a deal you want enter the site of your choice like Groupon in the Swagbucks search area and then click on the shop and earn logo and earn Swag Bucks on your daily deal purchase.
  • Share Swagbucks with friends. Swagbucks is too good of a program to keep to yourself and when you share it and your friends sign up you get 10% of their earnings for life right now.
  • Do a special offers. Each day take just a minute or two to scroll down the Swagbucks home page and see if their is a special offer you might be able to take advantage of for points. Often all you have to do is answer a few questions.
  • Watch Encrave videos yes more videos but I have heard from my readers that you can earn Swag Bucks faster through the Encrave tab than you can through the Swagbucks TV tab.
  • Complete Surveys and Tasks. Warning these two point earning options can be time consuming and mind numbingly boring, I suggest if you are going to try them you do them in down time when you can multitask a bit like when you are watching TV for instance.

Using this plan for an entire year would give you $600 for Back To School Shopping. True there isn’t that long until back to school shopping time as I write this but even $50 towards  back to school purchases would help the budget.If this plan seems too time consuming for you, perhaps my $30 a month in under 5 minutes a day plan would suit you better and it would net you $360 in one year for Back To School Shopping.

Wanting to earn money at home? Follow my Selling & Earning Tips board on Pinterest

swagbucks image (200wide)Not a member of Swagbucks yet? Click through and sign up today and start earning gift cards to help out your budget.

 

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10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Vacations

My family doesn’t take very many vacations but when we do you can be sure we pull every thrifty trick in the book to make sure we get the most bang for our vacation buck.

10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Vacations

10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Vacations

1. Go Off Season

Going on vacation during the off season works for our family because we homeschool. I realize not all families can do this, but the 9 steps below will help those of you that can’t go off season.

2. Book Through Point Earning or Rebate Sites

All of the sites above offer either points or cash back when you go through their shop and earn links to the various well known discount travel sites like priceline and hotels.com . The offers change from time to time and vary from site to site so it pays to join each site and then compare sites  to see who is currently offering the best deal.  I have earned as much as a $50 Amazon gift card code when I have done this for our families one week vacations.

3. Use Daily Deal Sites

Daily deal sites like Groupon and Plum District offer travel packages to various destinations, I myself have not booked a vacation package this way but have had friends that have and they have had good results. I have however bought restaurant vouchers for the city we are visiting off Groupon with success. Simply add your travel destination to your email preferences in Groupon so that you get the daily updates for offers in that area.

4. Look For Coupon Books

Most people know that you can buy coupon books full of entertainment and food coupons for large cities but you can also get a lot of free coupons by stopping at the local tourist information booth as you enter the area you are going to be vacationing in. My family does this all the time and have saved 10 to 20 percent off our meals and local attraction tickets at no cost for the coupons.

5. Book A Place With A Kitchen

If you are going to be staying in one area for 5 to 7 nights or more chances are you can book a place with a full kitchen for the same price as an average hotel room (our family has done this 2 vacations in a row). Having our own kitchen has kept our costs for food low on our last two vacations.

6. Pack A Small Cooler

Our cooler comes in handy for more than just the road trip to our destination, each morning before we head out for the day we pack it with fresh snacks and drinks for the day. In between our days events we have snacks on hand that help tie us over to meal time at the hotel room.

7. Compare Cost Of Transportation

When our family went to Disney World a few years ago one of the first things we did when planning for the trip was to sit down and compare gas cost to flight cost and car rental. For a family our size (5) driving worked out to be much less expensive but this might not be true if you have a smaller family, and also depends on exactly where you are headed and what flight and car rental deals you can find.

8. Consider Camping

State parks are often offer very inexpensive  campsites that come with more comforts of home than you might think like hot showers and flush toilets.  Private campgrounds often have small cabins that can be rented for less per night than a hotel room. Of course if you are dragging a trailer behind your vehicle your gas mileage is going to go up so you need to factor that in.

9. Eat Out For Lunch Stay In For Dinner

In general many restaurants have lunch menus that are several dollars cheaper per person than dinner menus, which can add up when you are feeding a family (especially one of teenagers who eat as much as adults).

Even if you don’t book a hotel room with a full kitchen, most hotel rooms now come with  fridge and microwave. Keep the makings for sandwiches in the fridge, and heat up some soup in the microwave for a simple and quick family meal. (make sure to pack a few simple cooking dishes is you do go this route since the hotel rooms won’t have them)

I once met a woman who brings her crock pot and electric skillet on vacation to use in a regular hotel room to feed her family. With a little bit of brain storming these two kitchen items certainly would increase the different meals you could make in a standard hotel room.

10. Cut Costs On Trinkets And Treats

When we arrived in Orlando as a family the first place we stopped was Walmart to pick up the food we would need for the week. We noticed right away that they had a great selection of Disney t-shirts, mugs and hats for inexpensive prices. When our daughter said she wanted something to remember Disney we brought her there.

As for how to not spend a fortune on treats such as ice cream and cookies and fancy slushy drinks, here is what works for our family, we stock the kitchen in the place where we are staying with treats that we normally  rarely buy such as ice cream bars and bags of candy and chocolate and tell the children when we get back to the hotel room each day they can pick something from the stash.  This plan has worked well for us for years.

Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to load up your smart phone, or tablet with helpful travel App. I like gas buddy which helps us find the least expensive place to buy gas along the way. I also like the ibotta App  I can use it to save money eating out, on movies that we might see during vacation,  and groceries that I buy on the trip (checkout my ibotta tutorial). 

Looking for more vacation tips? Follow my Family Vacation Tips board on Pinterest.

Linked to Thrifty Thursday,

10 ways to make cash while tossing clutter (smaller)Looking for ways to earn a bit of money for vacation? Check out my 10 Ways To Make Cash While Tossing Clutter and let those no longer needed items help pay for your next vacation.

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