Thursday, October 25, 2018

Earning Amazon Gift Cards for Christmas ( or whatever else you would like)

My husband and I have three kids and of course Christmas comes round once a year. So this year I tried to earn a few gift cards here and there through a few sites to save some money for the holidays. The great thing about Amazon is that they have toys of course, but also pantry supplies and I've purchased things like coffee and toilet paper from there before. The main site I use is

Swagbucks


The main ways I earn are from the daily poll ( 1 point) and then the searches. You get random amounts for searching through their search engine. They have games and such called Swago ( like Bingo) they do sometimes and if I have time then I'll do that- but it adds up nicely. You can cash out with as little as 300 points which is $3. Besides Amazon they have a ton of other options, and I cashed out $25 to Target around back to school for school supplies.

The next site I use a lot is Bing
www.bing.com
I'm pretty sure I don't get referral bonus points for when my friends sign up- but it's a super easy site so I wanted to share with you all anyways. You can earn up to 150 points a day searching and they have some bonus opportunities for earning through daily polls etc. It's super easy and I cash out 1-2 times a month for a $5 Amazon code.

The next site I use is Ibotta

When you sign up I get a $5 bonus and you get $10! You need $20 to cash out and you get paid for items you purchase at the grocery store ( or other stores) and then you scan the receipt with your phone. They have some offers that are called " any brand" so you may get 25 cents for a loaf of bread- it doesn't matter what brand. A while back they had a great deal on a particular breakfast sandwich my husband likes at Sams. They were on sale for $9.98 ( from $12.98) then for each box you got $5 from ibotta! It doesn't take long to rack up that way.


I hope some of these sites help you. There are several more I use but these are the easiest and faster I've found to earn money.

Please note there may be affiliate links in my post. Thanks!

October Financial update- lets talk numbers



It's been a while since I've posted about our debt free journey. You can read about the mountains of debt we have here and here. 

So you may recall that at the beginning of this year we started really trying to get out of debt and pay off our debt aggressively. I'm not exactly sure what happened with that. The first few months went well! Like really well. But then around April we started to slip. I say we, but really it's mostly me, which is another hard pill to swallow. My husband has a debit card, but really only uses it for gas. He does not spend money for anything for himself really. It's mainly going over on our grocery budget, going out to eat, fun stuff like movies for the kids, clothes that we probably don't have to have etc. So we started to kind of started a slow decline of not paying as much as I had hoped on our debt. So the good news- NO NEW DEBT.

That's a start right?

So actually from January 1st until today we have paid off $6,580 which brings our non mortgage debt to $144798.

While my husband has been " on board" with debt payoff I think he kind of just left it to me and did whatever. I pay the bills, I pay for groceries, I pay for the kids stuff etc. So he just kind of didn't know. But we had a long talk and I told him that I really needed more support in this. I needed him to be a cheerleader and be much more present in our budget, our finances etc. He is more than willing- I think I've just never really expressed to him my desire for his help.

So that's where we are. We haven't gone up, but not as much progress as we have hoped.

I really want all of debt paid off by the time I turn 40. I turned 36 last month, so we have about 47 months to work with. Sigh.

How are you all doing on your financial goals? Are you saving for a rainy day? Trying to pay off debt? Have a saving goal for a vacation a car? I would love to hear how it's going for you all!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Productive- Frugal Sunday

Happy September. I am a lover of all the months- but Fall, in particular, is my favorite. It's not quite Fall yet- but it's coming. Summer was pretty much a hot mess for our finances for a variety of reasons, but September hopefully is bringing calmness and more of a routine.

I love Sundays for many reasons. I got up early this morning with some coffee and time to reflect and pray. Then we all got around and went to Church. Our church starts a "new year" the first Sunday in September so the kiddos all went to a new classroom. They were excited to "move up" and were excited about their new teachers. My husband and I are still in the "30- 40" year old couples class and will be there for a bit longer :)

After church we came home and had a nice lunch.  Sunday's are normally a bit lazy for us and we don't go to town if at all possible.

We will have enough leftovers for dinner tonight.

I also made a big batch of Hurst Bean Soup in my instapot- which I love by the way... and put into small batches that my husband and I will take to work next week and maybe even eat tomorrow for lunch.

I need to do a whole post about this because it is soooooooo yummy and frugal and easy. For real like under $4 for probably 8-10 servings. Many people will spend that or much more on one meal out at lunch at work! So I try to make bean soup pretty often as we all like it.

I also made a batch of no bake oatmeal chocolate cookies and a batch of chocolate chip muffins for snacks, lunches , etc.

I know many people see Sunday as a day of rest- and we do in a sense. We try to chill out, hang out with the family, maybe take a nap etc. I do enjoy cooking though and while many times I do some food prep on Saturdays, sometimes I like to kind of do it on Sundays.

What all have you done today to get you ready for the first full week of  September? Are you looking as forward to Fall as I am?

Monday, July 30, 2018

Christmas in July?

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.....
All images about the red christmas
Not actually LOOKING like Christmas- and certainly not FEELING like Christmas around the homestead but being the frugal planner that I am I've started really thinking about it.

We always pack Operation Christmas Child boxes and we've been collecting things for that throughout the year and are getting quite a bit together.

I've started putting some money into my budget for Christmas gift cards now. I've gotten a $15 Taco Bell gift card for my brother ( LOL) and have put it away.

I also just cashed in my Ibotta for a $30 Kohls card! I may use that for back to school purchases if we decide there is something we need like underwear or socks or shoes- but I'd like to save it for Christmas.

Speaking of Ibotta- It is super easy and of course FREE. Once you sign up here you simply scan your receipts via an app on your phone for items that you purchase at stores. There are things like " any brand bread" or " any brand milk" and each one may be .25-.50 cents. I normally make about $7.xx on each weekly shopping trip so it doesn't take long to get enough ( $25) to cash out. You can get gift cards, amazon or paypal. I hope you all find it useful.

I've gotten a few "free item" coupons from Bath and Body works in the past few months and have bought 4 small hand cremes that I'll put in small gift bags for the kids teachers.

What all are you guys doing prepping for Christmas?

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Frugal Happenings: 7-8-18

Well I totally just skipped June but here is it what has been happening around the homestead this past week.

Kroger had a sale on their butter- $1.99 a lb so I got 5 lbs to put in the freezer.

The garden is insane: salsa, pasta sauce, ketchup, pickles of all sorts, relish of all sorts, ( see my hot pepper relish recipe)  pickled jalepenos etc. I'm running out of jars fast so I think I'm going to have to start freezing some stuff.

Kroger had a promotion for Bass Pro Shop gift cards: buy $50 get $10 off your groceries. I always use Bass Pro Shop cards at Christmas time and had some money in my Christmas budget so thought this was a win win.

I received some dryer balls a while back and kind of forgot about them, however I dug them out and have been using them for about a week now.

Sold 4 dozen eggs last week ( $2 a peice). I let my oldest daughter keep half then we put half towards their food. They are all still laying well so we have plenty to eat ourselves plus a little bit leftover to sell.

The girls are going to church camp (free our church pays for it) but they needed some cool skirts and a waterbottle- the Goodwill had everything we needed! The water bottles are really nice ones for $1 a peice and the skirts also look brand new and were $4 each, so $10 total plus tax from the goodwill. I looked up one of the water bottles and it was $17.99 at Target new so I would say I scored!

My dissertation is coming along. I need a draft to my professor in about 2 weeks so I'll be busy doing that, canning and raising the kiddos :)

What all have you been doing lately?

Also- any tips on freezing tomatoes especially?

Friday, April 6, 2018

Frugal Happenings: April 2-6

Oh what a week. It was pretty busy coming off of Spring Break just a week or so ago, advising has started for summer and fall, I'm of course still studying for my qualifying exams and I'm finishing up 7 hours of coursework from this semester which will complete all my required courses for my doctorate! Whoo hoo!

A few ways we stayed frugal during this busy week:

-No eating out.
-I made corn bread muffins from scratch several times- which the kids and my husband and I all like 
-The only grocery shopping we did was 1 gallon of milk.
-A former student sent me a nice thank you note and a $15 Sonic gift card to me- so I see some slushes in our future this summer.
-Our church has a beautiful singing on Wednesday night- free entertainment and just a wonderful service.
- It was my turn to bring snacks to the 4H club for my kids on Thursday. Normally I would have went to a cute local bakery and buy little cupcakes or petit fours. But this time I made homeade cookeis with ingredients I already had and whipped up some country time lemonade- the kids gobbled them up and I save probably $20!
- So many eggs I don't know what to do with them! Very thankful. We are getting between 14-18 eggs per day. I donated 6 dozen to our campus food pantry ( we put them in half dozen size cartons and the students love them). We still have had plenty to eat for ourselves.

What all have you been doing around your places this past week?

Friday, March 30, 2018

March updates: 1/3 of the year is finished! How did we do

So.... we are one third of the way through the year.

You may recall that this year we are focused on getting out of a tremendous amount of debt. We've had our ups and downs but here is the breakdown so far:

Paid off January: 1474
Paid off February: $2773
Paid off March: $2619

For a total of $6866 Paid off in 2018!

We are pretty proud of that figure and hope to keep up the momentum. This we did in March to help with the budget

1. Skipped spring school pictures: I normally buy pictures for each of the kids but to be honest they just go in a box in the closet. I put a few out to display- but figured I could skip these this one time. ( saving $60 along the way)

2. No clothes were purchased for myself, husband or the kids. Again- I do not think this is sustainable as the kids are growing but this past month we did not purchase anything!

3. We ate out just once the whole month!! We went on a small camping trip locally for Spring Break and there is a Steak and Shake close to where we camp and the kids love to eat there. We spent $24.xx for the 5 of us and enjoyed it. Eating out just once this month was a huge accomplishment for us.

4. Free entertainment by playing outside a lot, going to a park about 15 minutes away a few afternoons, playing cards at my parents house, participating in Free 4H activities etc. We had a full March and we all had fun.

5. I earned $183 from a local children's consignment sale called Rhea Lana's that happens in our area twice a year. It took some work to tag and enter all the items in- but I enjoyed the pay day! All that money went strait to our next debt.

6. I just listed a book on ebay. It's a text book I used last semester for school- so hopefully I'll sell that. It's listed at $43.xx.

Our original goal was to pay off $25,000 in debt this year, but it looks like we might even make $30,000!!!!

How are you guys doing? Having a nice frugal Spring?