20 Thrifty Ways To Spend Quality Time With Your Child

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I love spending time with my children. Sometimes one on one and sometimes all together. Quality time together helps me get to know the unique individuals that I am blessed to call my children.

20 thrifty ways to spend quality time with your child making memories doesn't have to cost much

Spending quality time with your children does not have to be expensive, it can even be free.

20 Thrifty Ways To Spend Quality Time With Your Child

15 of these 20 ideas are 100% free if you either already have the supplies needed (like bikes to ride) or can borrow them (like a tent from a neighbor).

1. Go for a bike ride

I love riding bikes with my children. When they were young they rode and I walked, now that they are older we ride together and have even taking over night trips on bikes together.

2. Take a walk

When children are little going for a walk  is like going on a  treasure hunt. There are rocks to find, and twigs to pick up. Bugs to poke with those twigs and puddles to jump in. When they become teenagers it often isn’t as easy to get them to agree to a walk,but when you can get them out great conversations get going.

10 ways to save money on children's art supplies (med)

3. Raid the recycle bin

So much of my children’s best artwork has come from items fished out of the recycling bin. On a  horrible weather day, keep you and the kids entertained by dragging out the recycling bin along with scissors, tape, crayons and glue to the dinning room table and spend the afternoon creating together.

4. Enjoy happy hour (the ice-cream and shakes type not the other)

Many different restaurants have happy hours in the afternoon where they cut their prices for dessert items and drinks to 1/2 price. This can make for an relatively inexpensive treat depending on the choices and the size of your family. Swagbucks has gift cards to a lot of the restaurants that offer happy hours so you could even earn the gift cards for these events with just a few minutes of online work each day.

5. Bake together

Every year my children and I decorate sugar cookies together. My daughter will help me throughout the year with other baking as well and it always lends itself to great conversation.

how to purchase board games for less (small)

6. Play a board game

Board games played together in our family can get loud ! We get very competitive but we have a lot of fun.

7. Hold a movie night

At home movie nights can be free when DVDs are borrowed from the local library or purchased using free redbox codes.  You can even cash in your Swagbucks for a Redbox gift card that you can use to fund your movie nights.

Our family enjoys movie night with a big bowl of caramel crunch popcorn mix and a jug of  frugal lemonade.

10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Camping (med)

8. Go camping in the backyard

Backyard camping is so much fun when children are little. They get to experience sleeping outside yet all they need in case things don’t go right are very near by.

9. Attend library events together

Our library brings in performers throughout the year that do anything from puppet shows to science shows. These are great events for the whole family. Checkout your local library and see if they offer such events.

5 sources of free or nearly free books (med)

10. Get lost in a book together

Choose a book the whole family will love, curl up on the couch together, and read a few chapters a day. If the children are older and can read well, have them take turns reading.

11. Attend free community events

Parades, classic car shows, festivals in the park, and other community events are often free and can be enjoyed by the whole family.

12. Play a fun iPad App

My kids and I have been known to battle it out on the iPad in the games connect4, fingle and rumble blob. I found most of these apps for free though the app of the day app.

13.  Keep an eye out for Groupon specials for local activities

Right now I recently purchased  a Groupon for sky zone and another one for ice skating in a near by larger center so that we could enjoy some fun family time together bouncing and skating.

It isn’t uncommon for deals like these to come up in daily deal sites like Groupon and they are normally at a savings of as much as 50%.

14. Do a dollar store craft together

Dollar stores are great resources for inexpensive craft materials. In the winter time my daughter and I will often head out to Dollar Tree and spend perhaps $5 and come home with enough materials to make several crafts.

15. Enjoy the weather

Splash in the puddles when it is raining. Go sleighing when it is snowing. Fly a kite when it is windy. Go for a picnic when it is sunny.

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16. Break out the photo albums

It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how old my children get they still love hearing stories about when they were little and looking at photos of mom and dad in their youth.

17. Blow bubbles

Whether it be a bubble gum bubble blowing contest or a quest to make the biggest soap bubble possible in your back yard, blowing bubbles is fun and  extremely low cost.  (here is a simple inexpensive recipe for bubble solution: mix 1 cup white granulated sugar into 4 cups warm water until sugar is fully dissolved, then add in 1/2 cup dishwashing liquid, store in airtight container).

18. Build paper airplanes

Spend a bit of time researching  how to make the best paper airplane online together, or at the library  and then have everyone build their own and hold a contest to see whose flies the farthest.

19. Sculpt together

Admit it there is just something about play dough that makes it fun for all ages. It can be made so inexpensively to0. Pinterest is full of recipes for homemade play dough. Take turns sculpting and having the others guessing what the individual is making, the winner gets a candy. Work together to build a play dough town.  Put an object in the middle of the table and have everyone try to sculpt it.

20. Break routine

Sometimes the best memory making quality time spent with children is a simple break in routine. For instance in our house several times a year we have backwards dinner night and eat dessert before main course. It is such a simple thing but my kids love it just as much as I loved it when my mom did this for me and my sister as children.

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

Linked to Saver Tips Tuesday,

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4 Thrifty Reasons To Use Brad’s Deals

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Brad’s Deals isn’t a daily deal site but instead it is a hub for great deals, sales, printable coupons, coupon codes and even freebie listings.

4 Thrifty Reasons to use Brad's Deals An online hub for great deals

 4 Thrifty Reasons To Use Brad’s Deals

1. You can get the best deals delivered right to your inbox every day

I love getting Brad’s Deals emails, called Brad’s Pick,  in my inbox  especially as the Christmas season approaches. The emails always contain great deals on brand name fashions, home decor, appliances, electronics and more. They are the day’s top deals but you will find even more deals on the Brad’s Deals website and can easily click through the email to do so.

These deals are found by Brad’s Deals all over the web, they do the searching for you. They come from stores such as Target, Kohls, Home Depot, Vera Bradley and many, many more.

2. You can find printable coupons and online coupon codes on the Brad’s Deals site

Click through your daily email  from Brad’s Deals to the site, or simple go directly to Brad’s Deals and you will find a coupon tab, click on it and you will see 100’s of coupons for  both your online and brick and mortar shopping.

3.  Freebie listing

Also found on the Brad’s Deals site is a “blog” tab, click on it, scroll down and you will find the most recent addition of “Brad’s Favorite Freebies” both online and in store.

4. You can personalize the site

Once you sign up for a Brad’s Deals email subscription and complete your profile you can then start personalizing the site by liking your favorite stores and bookmarking your favorite deals. This allows you to go back to the site and purchase the deal later in the day when you have more time (but don’t wait too long the deal could sell out) as well as check your favorite stores for new deals.

To bookmark a deal click the bookmark icon at the bottom of the deal.

To favorite a store click the “store” tab at the top of the site and click through to “Browse all 3800+ stores” then all the stores will appear in boxes with heart icons in the top corner that you can click to favorite.

Oh and I almost forgot the most important part: Brad’s Deals is of course, FREE to use.

Haven’t signed up for Brad’s Deals yet? Sign up here today!

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

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10 Ways Thrifty People Use Things Up To The Last Drop

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Tuesdays I share a picture from our week that inspired me to write a post.

10 ways thrifty people use things to the last drop

I was making popsicles this week out of the juice from cans of peaches and pears that I used in making peach pear crisp, when I began thinking about all the different ways my family uses things right down to the last drop.

 10 Ways Thrifty People Use Things To  The Last Drop

Homemade popsicles made from the juice of canned fruit1.  Thrifty people use the  fruit juice from canned fruit to make popsicles or flavor their sweet tea

How To Get The Rest Of The BBQ Sauce Out Of The Jar

2. Thrifty people use the last of the BBQ sauce  from the bottle with a vinegar swish and then add it to crock pot BBQ boneless chicken wings.

using the last drop of peanut butter even when it is dry

3. Thrifty people use the last of the natural peanut butter by mixing it with honey and dipping fruit in it.

How to use coconut oil to the last drop

4. Thrifty people use the last of the coconut oil as body lotion.

how to get the very last of drop of lotion out of a container like this (med)

5. Thrifty people cut open thick lotion bottles like those for suntan lotion to make it last one or two more applications.

10 Ways to Use Up Holiday Leftovers (med)

6. Thrifty people get creative with leftovers from holiday dinners.

Strawberry Watermelon lemonade slushy (small)

7. Thrifty people use mushy  watermelon to make slushies.

10 kitchen tools thrifty people own (med)

8. Thrifty people use a spatula to get just one more muffins worth of batter out of the batter bowl.

9. Thrifty people use the  last of the detergent from the detergent bottle by turning it upside down with the lid on tight for a few hours.

10. Thrifty people use the last of the shampoo by putting some water in the bottle and giving it a swish then dumping it out on their wet head.

How does your thrifty family use things to that last drop?

Linked to Saver Tips Tuesday,Thrifty Thursdays, Frugal Friday Link Up Party,

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Where We Save & Splurge On Weekend Getaways

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Tuesdays I share a picture from our week that inspired me to write a post.

Where we save money on a weekend getaway and where we splurgeMy husband and I had been trying to get away for a few nights and a few days  for months. We had failed twice to get our getaway off the ground and were getting discouraged, but when we saw a 4 day weekend in my husband’s work schedule we decided to give it one more try.

One way we normally save money on getaways

Normally in good weather we like to hitch up our camping trailer to the truck and go camping just the 2 of us. We don’t rough it at all our Craiglist found trailer has air conditioning, a queen size bed, running water and a TV/DVD combo. We also camp just outside of a major center so we can go into town to enjoy a few meals out.

This saves us a considerable amount of money on accommodations and food.

I will share a few more ways to save money on a getaway for 2 in just a minute but I want to talk about where we splurge first.

Where we splurge on getaways

This time our getaway landed on a long weekend and campgrounds are just too crowded for these two introverts  on long weekends.

So we opted for our favorite winter getaway location. Now being that I said we camp to save money you are probably thinking a splurge for us is standard hotel room. Nope. What we love about the trailer is that we bring a screened in room with us so that my night owl husband has somewhere to read at night and get his introvert tank filled while my early bird self  sleeps, and I an early bird can have my introvert tank filled in the morning while my night owl husband sleeps.

An average hotel room doesn’t allow for that type of space unless you roll the office chair in the bathroom (yes we have tried, not fun). You could also send the awake person to the lobby while the other sleeps but then you have to make polite conversation with strangers, which doesn’t really create the right environment for filling the introvert tank so that you can spend the day with your spouse and not be cranky.

our favorite hotel room has a seperate bedroomOur solution; one bedroom suite hotel rooms.The last two times we have stayed at one at the  Staybridge Suites but there are others available.  These rooms do cost more than your standard hotel room but not as much as you might think. A standard room in a decent hotel in our area for instance costs around $79 a night where as these one bedroom suites usually run us $120 a night.


seperate living space in our hotel suiteThe extra $40 a night spent gets us a living room completely separate from the bedroom. When an early bird marries a night owl this living space is a huge marriage saver.

separate kitchen in our hotel roomThe living room might be a marriage saver but the kitchen off the living area is a money saver. It easily makes up for at least 1/2 of the extra money on the room due to the fact that we eat dinner in. We could save more money and eat lunch in but it is a getaway.

We also save money on entertainment because the room is so cozy that we don’t want to go out much, instead preferring to hang out and enjoy cable (we only have Netflix and antenna TV at home) read books, and take long afternoon naps.

The Staybridge we stayed at also had a great workout room and swimming pool for working out.

Breakfast was included and it consisted of a wide variety of foods, from fresh fruit and yogurt to make your own waffles and cold cereal.

To my husband and I these features make the $40 more we spend on the room well worth the splurge.

4 ways we do save on our weekend getaways

1. We pack our own entertainment

roller blades

On the first day of our trip my husband and I treated our renovating selves to a 1 hr walk through an historic part of town, critiquing the homes and explaining to each other what we would do to the homes if they were ours.

The second day we took a walk around a local park walking hand in hand and testing out the trail for what we wanted to try the next day.

The third day we broke out our long neglected rollerblades. For years they have sat in our attic untouched yet my husband could not bare to let me give them away. We decided we needed to take action and got them new wheels and took them on our trip. We had a blast rollerblading for 3 miles.

jack on roller blades during trip

The rest of the weekend we read side by side, watched TV together, and took a few long naps. Cost of our activities was zero, since we have needed those new rollerblade wheels for years and will now get a lot more use out of our yard sale found rollerblades.

2. We use daily deal or coupons for eating out

This trip we actually didn’t use either a single coupon or a daily deal but that is odd for us. Normally at least 1 meal is paid for by a daily deal or coupon.

food for getaway

3. We eat lunch out and dinner in

At most of the restaurants that we like to eat at as a couple lunch is several dollars cheaper per person than dinner so we go out for lunch and stay in for dinner. The foodl in the photo above we bought the first day and it lasted us 3 meals. (the picture was taken after the first one was eaten)

4. We book the hotel through a point program or a site where we can get cash back

The one bedroom suites are not always available for booking off a discounted hotel site, but if they are and Swagbucks or another point or cashback site is offering a deal for booking through that particular discount booking site, you can bet we book it through them so we can get either points towards a free gift card or cash back.

We also join the hotel point programs if they have one, although we rarely stay in hotels enough to be able to cash in the points.

These are just a few ways we saved money on our recent couples getaway and one way we splurged. Curious, in what areas  do you and your  partner splurge on your getaways and in what areas do you save money?

For more saving money tips follow my Saving Money Tips board on Pinterest.

Linked to Saver Tips Tuesdays,

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Looking for ways to keep the romance alive without spending a fortune? Here are 10 ways to save money on your dates.

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How To Make Sure You Get The Best Cash Back Rate

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How to make sure you get the best cash back rate when shopping online

Cash back programs are one of my favorite ways to save money when shopping online. Today I want to share my tips for making sure you are getting the best cash back rate possible

1. Join All The Cash Back companies you can

The more cash back companies you are enrolled in the more opportunity you have to shop around and compare before you click through and buy your item.

Here is a list of those I know about

  • Mr Rebate: Minimum balance for cash out is $10 by either check or Paypal.
  • TopCashBack : No minimum balance required to do a cash out, and if you pick the option to receive your payment in the form of an Amazon gift card code you get an extra 2.5 percent back . TopCashBack also pays out by Paypal,  or direct deposit.
  • Ebates : Minimum balance for cash out is $5.01 and cash outs are sent 4  time a year by  check or Paypal.

2. Consider Shop & Earn Programs as well

Various point earning programs included points for dollars spent on purchases made through links on their websites.

Here are 3 such point earning programs that I know offer points for shopping online

  • My Points : Payouts are in gift cards which start at 1600 points for a $10 gift card to various stores and restaurants.
  • Swagbucks :Payouts are in gift cards which start at 450 points for an Amazon gift card or 500 points of various stores and restaurants.
  • Inbox Dollars : Payouts are in the form of a check or a Inbox dollars Visa cash card and you must reach $30 to receive a payout.

3. Compare rates before making a purchase each and every time

Cash back rates fluctuate from program to program and even within the program itself, since sites such as Ebates often run specials where you can receive larger than normal cash backs.

Here is an example of what I mean on the day  I wrote this, here is what the various cash back sites and shop and earn sections of point programs were offering if I was to make a purchase at Walmart.com  through their links

  • Swagbucks was offering 2 Swag Bucks per dollar spent (works out to 2% cash back) (math explained below)
  • Ebates was offering a 1% cash back
  • Mr Rebate was offering a 2% cash back
  • Top Cashback was offering a 4% cash back (but only 1% on video games, movies, books and photos), plus remember if you are willing to take an Amazon gift card code as payment you would get and extra 2.5% back making your total 6.5%
  • My Points was offering 5.4% (8 points per dollar)
  • Inbox dollars was offering a 2% cash back

I had to do a bit of math to convert Swag Bucks to percentage (My Points provides  it in both points and percentage). Basically 500 Swag Bucks equals a $5 gift card (yes I know Amazon cards are 450 but they are an exception), that means one Swag Buck is worth a penny.  If you purchased $100 at Walmart you would get 200 Swag Bucks back which is the equivalent of $2, or a cash back rate is 2% .

If you are willing to take a Amazon gift card code as payment and you are not buying video games, movies books and photos then your best deal would be Top Cashback with a total of 6.5 % cash back when you add in Amazon bonus. Your  second  highest cash back option the day, that could work out to be  the highest if you either were ordering the reduced rate cash back items or wanted payment in Paypal or direct deposit instead of an Amazon gift card code would be My Points.

Please note though that these figures change often day by day as the different companies run promotions with special rates at certain stores. So don’t just check once and decide that a certain company always has the best rates for a certain store, instead check before each purchase.

Using these figures, if I had  gone through Ebates and spent $100 at Walmart I would have earned just $1 back but since I spent one to two minutes checking all 6 programs I would have earned $6.50 back from Top Cashback , that is a $5.40 difference on just one online order. I know our family makes at least a few online orders a month of varying cost from various stores. By spending those extra moments before each order to check out the best cash back rates I estimate we are saving $100 to $200 over the course of a year.

4. Check All Stores On All Sites

I think most people know to shop through a cash back site or a shop and earn link found in point sites when they are shopping at well known stores like Walmart or Old Navy but it doesn’t hurt to try for a cash back on lesser known sites too. For instance I shop at Lucky Vitamin and was happy to see when I punched it in at Top Cashback that a 2% cash back came up. Top Cashback is the only site I have found so far to offer cash back for Lucky Vitamin.

Another cash back deal I use over and over is ThredUP found at Swagbucks as a shop and earn option now and again. Nothing like getting great deals on NWT clothes and earning Swag Bucks at the same time.

5. Don’t Forget Your Daily Deal Shopping

If you are like me you have daily deal programs like , Groupon  and my favorite for clothes for the family Zulily send you an email with the latest deals, however to maximize your savings, don’t shop through the links in the emails. Instead take an extra few extra minutes  to search the cash back sites and shop & earn programs and check and see who is offering the best return for money spent on daily deals. This is a great way to double dip on savings.

Apply these rules above and you should see great savings with cash back programs.

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

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How To Use Checkout 51: A Simple Way To Save Money On Groceries

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How to use Checkout 51 A simple way to save money on groceries

Have you heard of the app Checkout 51? It is a grocery app that is very simple way to save money on groceries each week even if you don’t buy processed food.Each week you check the Checkout 51 app to see if you bought something off their list of current offerings and if you did upload your receipt and the team at Checkout 51 takes care of the rest.

Haven’t switched over to a smart phone yet? No problem,  all you need is a tablet with a rear facing camera to use Checkout 51, I used my 4th generation iPod with no problems and I have heard of others using iPad minis.

How To Start Using Checkout 51 To Save Money On Groceries

1. Go to checkout 51 and sign up for an account before downloading the app

checkout 51 current offers page the app for saving money of groceries

2. Download the app and open it up and check out the current offers listing

As you can see from this picture, Checkout 51 doesn’t just offer cash back on processed food but also on whole foods like milk, eggs, fruit and vegetables.  Each Thursday at 12 AM new offers for the week go live and and they end at Wednesday at midnight.  Offers can run out at anytime so make sure to check the app again before you start shopping and upload the receipt as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Make sure you pay attention to the full description of the product listed, so that you get your rebate. For instance if there is a rebate for Windex see if perhaps it is a certain type like original, and if so make sure to get that type in order to get your rebate.

Checkout 51 Upload your reciept the app that makes it simple to save money on groceries3. Upload your receipt (s)

Checkout 51 does a great job of explaining exactly what to do to upload your receipt correctly. You can upload receipts for all the different stores you shopped at during your grocery shopping outing but you only get to redeem one of each offer , so if you got eggs at 2 stores and Checkout is offering a rebate on eggs your account will only be credited one rebate for eggs.

4. Watch you rebates add up.

Press on the little person in the corner of the Checkout 51  main page of the app and you will see how much rebate money you have. Once your account hits $20 you can request a payment by check.

Looking for ways to save money? Follow my Saving Money Tips Board On Pinterest

Not a member of Checkout 51 yet?  Click Here and start saving money on your groceries

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Why This Thrifty Gal Will Shop At Twice More Than Twice

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Tuesdays I share a picture from our week that inspired me to write a post.

I recently tried the online consignment store Twice for the first time.

Why this thrifty gal likes Twice for saving money on clothing

I heard about Twice from a reader, and after checking out the site knew I wanted to try it out to see if it could be a great source of inexpensive quality clothing that I could share with my readers.

I of course waited until I could get  great deal and that deal came Friday when they had a free shipping code available and I had $20 in credit available to spend thanks to two generous readers who had signed up through my links and enjoyed $10 off their first order in return.

I have used ThredUp several times now and love the new with tags section, so I decided to see what Twice had to offer in their NWT section. I was pleasantly surprised to see Twice also offered a large selection of new with tag clothing.

I picked up a pair of Gap dress pants for winter. I found a pair in my size for $15.95, on the Gap website currently a similar pair is selling for $41.97 on sale or $69.95 full price.

Working with those figures I saved $26.02 when compared to current sales.

I ordered the pants Friday evening and received them Wednesday. Considering mail doesn’t move on Sundays that means it took just 4 shipping days for me to receive my order.

Twice offers new with tag clothing at great prices

The pants are beautiful and fit great. I would show you a picture of me wearing them but my kids have yet figure out how to take a good picture of mom, I am usually blurry or really tiny.

This is the first time I have dared to order pants from an online site simple because my curves  and height are hard to fit sometimes. However  I know Gap pants fit me well because I own a pair of their jeans and the Twice site made it incredibly easy to figure out if the pant size matched my figure by listing all the necessary pant measurements like inseam, waist and hips right beside the picture of the pants.

I will order from Twice again, in fact I will order more than Twice (sorry I couldn’t resist the pun :) )

 Not yet a member of Twice, Sign Up at start your account with $10 using this link 

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

20 ways thrifty people save money on clothing (button)Looking for ways to save money on your families clothing costs? Here are 20 Ways Thrifty People Save Money on Clothing.

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How To Earn Maximum Income From Point Programs: Free Printable

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I have heard it from friends in real life, from reader’s who leave comments on my blog and others “point programs are not worth the time” but I disagree.

How to earn maximum income from point programs free printables

Back before I had  blog and could reap the benefits of referral links better than I can now I still made $50 a month on average from point programs and I rarely spent more than 30 minutes 3 to 4 days a week on them. That works out to $6.25 to $8.33 an hour, not bad for work I squeeze around everything else I did as a full  time homemaker and homeschooler.

Over the years I did this I learned a few tips that made me earn more with point programs quicker.

How To Earn Maximum Income From Point Programs

 Join a bunch

The trick to earning maximum income from point programs is to belong to several and use them regularly Here is a list of some you may want to try

(for more see my list of 17+ point programs that includes store reward programs, cash back sites and coupon apps that pay out in gift cards where I share my favorites and explain in detail what I do and don’t do inside each one)

Try them all

I suggest trying each one point program and survey company you find that has good reviews and is recommended by bloggers you trust until you at least hit the first payout, and then decide if it is worth it for you or not.

My rule of thumb has been if it has taken me more than 4 months to reach what is the minimum payout for the site, whether that be magazine subscriptions, books, gift cards or Paypal cash out or check than I usually cut the program unless it takes less than a few minutes a day to earn points.

Daily point reward income earning plan

Give yourself a daily time limit and have a plan to maximize your time

Point programs work best when you work at them regularly. Then again you don’t want to devote your whole day to earning points as the pay just isn’t that good.

What I suggest is setting a timer for 30 minutes and then work from the quickest point earning activities to the most time consuming ones. Of course if you get into a survey in the last minute before your timer goes off know you are going to want to finish it so make sure you leave some flex time before you are going to be needed else where.

Here is a list that is also available for download at bottom of post

  1. Set timer for 30 minutes
  2. Get at least one Swagbucks app going on your tablet or smart phone
  3. Open 2 tabs on your laptop and in one get Swagbucks TV going on low volume (for the next 30 minutes click back to that tab whenever you hear a show finish and start another one, hint the pet shows are usually very short so you can earn more Swag Bucks faster)
  4. Do the Swagbucks daily poll
  5. Do the Swagbucks daily NOSO
  6. Make sure to do one search using the Swagbucks toolbar so you get a point the next day
  7. Go to Bing Rewards do any Earn and Explore Bing Rewards Credits
  8. Earn you 15 PC Bing Reward Credits
  9. Go to your tablet or Smartphone and earn the 10 mobile app Bing Rewards credits (if you had to pause the Swag Bucks app to do this don’t forget to get it going again once you are done)
  10. Go to Inbox dollars  and click on all the paid emails
  11. Go through your email inbox and click on all the paid emails from My Points
  12. While your in your email inbox did Recycle Bank send you an earning email? If so do the activities
  13. Go to Paid Viewpoint and do any surveys you have waiting
  14. Go Back to Inbox dollars do they have any videos you can watch and do a few actions about them for points.
  15. Check the Read tab under “Discover” on the Swagbucks home page to see if you can earn a few quick points there.
  16. Stop timer  here if it hasn’t gone off already.  (if you wish leave your Swagbucks app running so you can earn the maximum points per day)
  17. If you have more time  check My Survey for surveys.

There is a  printable version of this list is available at the bottom of this post so  that you can laminate it and either put in the front of a binder that will hold your earning tracking sheets (more on that in a moment)  or clip it  into my clipboard organizing system.

Repeat this list at least 3 times a week and you should see a steady  income coming in from point earning programs month after month.

If you go through the entire earning process and love the program start referring others

Most point earning programs have a referral program. I don’t suggest using them until you have at least had one payout from the company, that way you can answer all questions your friends (or readers if you have a blog) might have. At the very least try out the program for a few weeks to make sure you like it and spend sometime searching for personal reviews and testimonials for the company online before sharing the referral links, you don’t want to risk your reputation for a few bucks.

Don’t over share. If your Facebook page becomes nothing but referral links you are going to offend your friends, or followers if your a blogger. Lightly sprinkle your requests to have people sign up.

point reward programs earning tracking sheet

Keep track of what you earn

It is too easy to lose track of what you are earning with point programs. A $5 Starbucks card  earned here, A $10 Amazon card earned there, all soon forgotten. To make the most impact for time spent I highly recommend writing down each and every gift card, or free magazine or book you earn and keeping a tally.

The benefit for this goes beyond just helping you realize what you are earning month per month, it will also help you see with what companies you earn your greatest return and that will help you tweak your plan for maximizing profit. It will also help you see if you could pool various companies rewards together, such as trying to get Amazon cards from as many companies as possible so you are able to afford a once a month $35 free shipping order from Amazon of items your family needs.

I have included a downloadable pdf of the form I use for your personal use at the bottom of this post.

Spend your points wisely

$50 a month isn’t going to help your families budget out much if you spend it all on Starbucks coffee cards. By all means spend some on something that brings you a bit of sanity in the day to day. For, instance each and every month I load up my Starbucks gold card with $10 worth of gift cards earned from various point programs and use it to enjoy a few iced coffees through out the month. The rest of what I earn I try to cash out for either Amazon gift cards or Pay pal gift cards whenever I can so that I can have the most flexibility as to what I spend it on.

For instance from Amazon I am able to order school supplies, vitamins, shampoo and even running shoes.

Here is the link to my downloadable:Daily Point Rewards Program Plan

Here is the link to my downloadable: Point Program Earnings

Want to thank me for the free printables? join me on you favorite social media platform whether that be Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram or Google+( :) Thanks )

For more ways to earn money at home check out my Selling & Earning Tips board on Pinterest

A list of 17+ point progmas that will help your increase your income.Don’t forget to check out my complete  list of 17+ point programs that can help increase your income

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The One Question That Saves Thrifty People The Most Money

(post contains affiliate links)

I am sure you have heard this question before, but I think it needs repeating often if you are going to reach your financial goals.

the one question that saves thrifty people the most money and how not to take it to extremes

 The One Question That Saves Thrifty People The Most Money And How Not To Take It To Extremes

I give you tips each and every Friday on ways to save money on things from vacations to groceries, to landscaping, and many more areas of life but truly the first question you have to ask yourself before buying a purchase is the one that will save you more money in the long run than any other money saving tip all the money saving bloggers out there could offer you.

What is it?

do I really need this

Do I really need this?

If the answer is no it doesn’t matter how inexpensive the purchase it is you are wasting money.

When  I repeat that question “Do I really need this” while out shopping, I put clearance found t-shirts back on the rack, I put yard sale found dishes back down and walk away empty handed, and I don’t even touch the wrapper of the candy bar at the check out.

Sure some of these purchases are small and seem very insignificant but put all together done week after week they can add up to a significant amount of cash that could be used to help our family reach our financial goals.

I  also know life would be pretty boring however without the odd little treat now and then, and treats are not generally things we need.

  • We don’t need take out  (as a foodie that one hurts)
  • We don’t need more than 3 outfits  (yes this is true, it is just not fun)
  • We don’t need more than 1 pair of season appropriate shoes ( gasp!)
  • We don’t need chocolate (oh no don’t even go there)
  • We don’t need to buy a book (um….nah…that has to be wrong)

Yet I think minimalists, who don’t own more than 3 outfits and one pair of shoes would even agree that life would be boring without the occasional splurge now and again, whether they be materialistic ones like  a good book, or experience focused, like a vacation (yep you don’t really need those for survival either).

So How Do You Not Take The Question “Do I Need This?” To the Extreme?

Give yourself a limit for treats and stick to it

Know what your bills are verses what your income is and then decide how much money you can put towards “sanity treats” as I like to call them.

You might find that you have very little to no money for such things in that case do not despair here are 2 ways to make room in your budget for sanity treats .

1. Make use of all the point programs available to earn gift cards to pay for sanity treats

My 3 favorite point programs are Swagbucks, Bing Rewards and ibotta (a cash back app) but there are many, more available.

If you spend just 15 minutes a day doing a few tasks in each program, I would think it is fair to say that you could earn $25 to $30 or more that you could earmark for gift cards for eating out or book buying or whatever it is that brings you a bit of a pick me up on a stressful day.  (here is how Swagbucks and Bing combined can bring you $30 a month in less than that daily time frame  )

2. Take some time to brainstorm and research all the things you can do for free

There are so many things you can do to take a bit of a breather in daily life without spending a dime. I love this article Crystal Paine linked to that contains 35 things you can do to relax and up lift your spirits that don’t cost a dime, plus Crystal’s own 17 additional ways to have fun without spending money. I would add to Crystal’s list my 10 ways to date for zero. Stress release and having a good time with others really doesn’t have to cost money.

So next time you pick up a purchase think to yourself  Do I really need this? and if not do I think it worthy of my sanity money? and watch your purchase satisfaction grow and your progress to your financial goals soar.

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

Linked to Saver Tips Tuesdays, Thrifty Thursday,Frugal Friday Link Up Party,

The One Question That Can Save You The Most $$$

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How To Convert Bing Rewards Credits Into Swagbucks

(post contains affiliate links see disclosure)

A reader asked me this question

I’m really confused about the Bing Rewards thing. How exactly does it work with Swagbucks? What is the process. I just signed up and I don’t see anything Swagbucks related :(

I replied to her question but it made me think. How many others out there don’t truly understand how to convert Bing Reward credits to Swag Bucks?

Convert Bing Rewards Credits Into Swag Bucks

How to Convert Bing Reward Credits Into Swag Bucks

1. Sign up for Bing Rewards

You of course can’t convert credits unless you actually have credits to convert. It takes just a few moments to get a Bing Rewards account.

2. Earn Bing Rewards By Completing Three Daily Actions

Each and every day make sure to take just a few minutes to earn the maximum credits you can earn through Bing Rewards

  1. Do any Earn and Explore actions: There are usually one a day sometimes 2 just click the link and you earn the credit(s)
  2. Do your PC Searches where you get 1 credit for every 2 searches up to 15 credits per day. I get mine fast by clicking the related search links it gives you in the sidebar of the screen (might have to scroll to see)
  3. Do your Mobile Searches where you get 1 credit for every 2 searches up to 10 credits per day. I find these take a bit longer than the PC searches do but they really do help you earn faster.

 Total time spent daily:  Just under 5 minutes

3. Keep Earning Your Bing Reward Credits Until You Reach 475 credits

The first time you cash out you will have to earn 500 but shortly after that you should reach “gold status” which makes a 500 credits gift card 475 credits.

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 3.24.21 PM

screen shot from Bing Rewards

4. Click on the “Redeem” tab

At the top of your Bing Rewards Dashboard  page just above Earn and Explore you should see above. Click on Redeem to view all the available gift cards.

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 3.27.45 PM

screen shot from Bing Rewards

5. Choose the $5 Swagbucks giftcard

Click on the $5 Swagbucks gift card and press redeem. Follow the instructions and very soon a code for 500 Swag Bucks will be delivered to the email address associated with your Bing Rewards account.  (if you don’t have enough credits yet press set as goal and the card will show up in the sidebar of your dashboard with a line that will turn green when you reach your goal and then you don’t have to dig for it to cash in, although you still have to go through the redeem process).

screen shot from Swagbucks

screen shot from Swagbucks

6. Copy and paste your code into the Swagbucks

When the email arrives (which is under 24 hrs) copy and paste the Swag Code into the Swag Code box found on the home page of Swagbucks. Just click the Swag Code symbol and a box to enter the code will appear. The 500 Swag Bucks will be automatically put into your Swagbucks account.

7. Repeat up to 50 times

You can cash in  up to 50 of these special Swagbucks codes. Which will help you expand your gift card cash in options since Bing Rewards has just a small handful of gift cards to choose from for redemption but Swagbucks has pages full.

What I also like is you can get a $5 Amazon gift  card at Swagbucks for 450 Swag Bucks (up to 5 a month at this Swag Buck price). At Bing Rewards that same $5 Amazon gift card costs your 475 credits  which is the same as a 500 Swag Buck points card from Bing Rewards.  That means I come ahead of the game when I cash in Bing Credits  for Swag Bucks and convert them to Amazon cards.

I hope this post helps you understand the process of converting Bing Rewards credits into Swag Bucks better.

Interested in maximizing your Swagbucks earnings through Bing and other activities? Follow one of my Swagbuck plans

Looking for ways to earn money from home? Follow my Selling & Earning Tips Board On Pinterest.

A list of 17+ point progmas that will help your increase your income.Like point programs? Check out my list of 17+ point programs that can help increase your income.

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