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Category: Tips & Tricks for Stretching Your Dollar

Meal Planning: How I Plan for the Week

Meal planning and shopping has changed a bit for me since having kids, but essentially I am doing the same things I have always done. My time is more limited now, so I really try to get it done as quickly as possible. This is my method.

How to Make the Most of Your Dollar When Meal Planning

Step One – Go through the store circulars for your top stores.

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How Long Can our Family Go Without Buying Any Shampoo or Toothpaste?

How long can I go without buying our family any shampoo or toothpaste is the question I am going to answer this year. Since the start of the new year I have not purchased any new shampoo or toothpaste for our family, and honestly, I think we can make it all year, or longer without buying any more.

What Inspired this Challenge?

Trying to save money, for starters. But secondly, when I looked in our linen closet and saw that we had several full bottles of shampoo, a few full tubes of toothpaste and like a million samples that were unused I started thinking, “I bet if we were to use up some of these samples that we could go a really long time without buying any product.”

How Did I Acquire So Much Product?

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Making Money Online: Swagbucks

*The links in this post are my affiliate links, which means if you click through to sign up I will receive points in my account as well. It doesn’t cost you anything and helps to maintain my the costs associated with running my blog.
Using Swagbucks is a really simple way to earn money online. You won’t earn a fortune, but without much effort you can you earn $5+ a month. It just takes a few minutes of time. Everyday you can earn a few points by completing a few short tasks and if you a do a few searches a day you can also earn more points.Screen shot 2014-10-06 at 10.57.46 AM

There are multiple other ways to earn as well: playing games, printing and using coupons, special offers, online shopping, surveys and watching videos. If you use google chrome and download the extension it will alert you of opportunities to earn points while you are shopping online or if a special code is posted on facebook.

It’s amazing how fast the points add up. 500 points is equivalent to $5 and there are a wide array of gift cards you can redeem it for. Personally, I only redeem it for amazon gift cards because the ratio is 450 points for $5. I get a little more for my money and I use amazon alot for various purchases. It’s especially helpful for Christmas shopping, which I can’t believe is coming up in a few months.

Screen shot 2014-10-06 at 11.13.28 AM
Just a small sampling of gift card options available

All in all I have loved this site. It took me a little while to get used to it, but now that I have I average between $10-$20 per month. I’ll take it!

If you don’t believe me check out my post on How I used surveys, Bing and Swagbucks to purchase an i-pad mini.



How I used Swagbucks, Surveys and Bing to buy an I-pad mini

ipadI don’t remember how I got started in online surveys. I think it was in college when I had my own laptop and time to surf the net. I started with ZoomPanel. In those days there was no such thing as Amazon.com or Paypal. I earned points which I redeemed for products. My mom still has the waffle iron we got from those points, but we got rid of the deep fryer.

As time went on I learned about more survey sites and other income generating sites online and as technology has progressed so have the opportunities. I am now registered with several survey sites and other simple search or marketing sites, all of which provide a small steady stream of income. When I say small, I mean small, but over time it adds up. Now I can generally make anywhere from $15-$25 a month for about 15 minutes a day of clicking away on my laptop. And that is just from Swagbucks, Bing and Crowdtap. I also earn money from surveys, but I don’t cash in on those as often so it’s harder to track my monthly income.

This past month we finally saved up enough in amazon gift cards to purchase a 32GB ipad mini, along with a case, screen protector and a usb hard drive. We are hoping to use this as a tool to help John with giving drum lessons. Plus, it’s fun and we can do so much else with it too. A few years ago I was able to purchase my kindle fire with survey money and now the ipad. Not bad for no money out of pocket!

Want to learn more about how to make money online? I will be featuring various sites in the coming months so stay tuned.

Grocery University Sale – August 19th!

On Tuesday, August 19th, there will be a huge sale to celebrate the re-launch of Grocery University. This in-depth audio course will teach you how to make the most of your grocery budget. Since the sale is so good I am going to invest myself and am so excited to listen and learn.

The earlier you check it out the more savings you can score.

Here’s how it will work:

  • 5 a.m. CT – low price of $2.99
  • 8 a.m. CT – price goes up to $3.99
  • 11 a.m. CT – price goes up to $4.97
  • 2 p.m. CT – price goes up to $5.97
  • 5 p.m. CT – price goes up to $6.97
  • 8 p.m. CT- price goes up to $7.97
  • 11 p.m. CT- price goes up to $8.97

Even for the highest price of $9 this course is worth it as it could potentially save you so much more as you shop. If you purchase and listen I would love to hear how you have saved. I’ll be sure to share my experiences as well as I have a chance to listen.

Grocery University – Re-launching August 19th!

My favorite blogger from MoneySavingMom.com has recently acquired a product that I am completely on board with and I trust her recommendation! There will be a re-launching on August 19th, where you can snag some great deals on this course.

It’s called Grocery University and basically it’s a an in depth audio course that will help teach you how to make the most of your grocery budget. Even if you already are a great shopper there is still more to learn. While I have not gone through the course myself, I know the importance of the information provided. It’s knowledge that has helped John and I make it on a meager food budget and I know I still have much to learn as well.

Since it’s an audio course you can download the mp3’s and listen on the go.

The Grocery University course includes:
Grocery University

✓ 139 minutes of audio MP3 files – learn everything you need to know by listening!
✓ 40-page student workbook (PDF) with more tips, visual aids, and example scenarios.
✓ BONUS! The Grocery University Rock Bottom Price Database PDF ($10 value on its own!)

If you are anything like me, you just want to know the bottom line. The cost for Grocery University is only $9.97. Which, when you average it out over all the money it could potentially save you over the course of your grocery shopping years, you could think of it as being virtually free. Plus, it’s a resource you’ll own and can re-visit again and again. And you don’t have to wait for anything to be mailed. Everything is digital so you can start learning as soon as you purchase. I am tempting myself, is that bad?

If you have already tried this product or decide to try it out, I would love to hear how it has helped you.

Dinner and Shopping Becky Style

Friday night we went out and did some errand running.

-2 regular subs at Jersey Mikes
-4 bottles of vintage soda from World Market
-2 boxes of Twinings tea from World Market
-1 maple pecan bar from Corner Bakery
-1 box of freezer plastic bags from Dollar Tree
-1 book from Barnes and Noble

GRAND TOTAL: $9.50world market goodies maple pecan bar

Now that is my kinda shopping trip. I knew we were wanting to eat near World Market so I checked out what was over there. Jersey Mike’s caught my eye so I signed up for their email club and proceeded to get a Free Sub coupon. Nice! So we paid for only 1 sub. World Market gave me $10 free for my birthday so we paid only 98 cents. We had a free sweet coupon for Corner Bakery from my birthday as well. And B&N we used gift cards for.

If you have not gotten into the habit of signing up for email clubs from restaurants or stores, you are missing out! You don’t have to use every coupon they send you, but we rarely go out without a coupon in hand. I love the free birthday meals and that has now become a tradition for us on each of our birthday months. It’s a fun way we can enjoy going out when we normally would not be able to. Check out my next post to find out which restaurants have the best deals for email club members.

Surveys and Other Money Makers: Swagbucks

Swagbucks4Swagbucks is another site where you can earn points and redeem them for gift cards or other merchandise. The best deal is the $5 amazon gift card for 450 points. I probably earn at least 1/month in a matter of minutes a day. And I really don’t try hard. If you actually try you can probably earn twice that. There is a daily poll and daily click thru’s that allow you to earn 4 points per day. They send you emails as well where you can earn points for watching a few videos. You can also earn points by searching via their toolbar. I earned $65 last year in amazon money, and like I said, spent very little time to do so. If you have more time there are many ways you can earn even more.

*If you click thru and sign up it is my referral link.

Survey’s and Other Money Makers: Pinecone Research

I work full time outside the home, but I am always looking for ways to make money in my spare time (whenever that is). I have been doing online surveys since college and while they don’t pay great, they do pay. I can honestly say that I’ve earned thousands of dollars over the course of the years, not to mention free products as well. I am a member of several survey companies that I will highlight over the next few weeks.

Pinecone The first is Pinecone research. This is a great one, and they are accepting new applicants right now. Sign up Here. (Only one person per household) This is definitely one of the better survey companies because the pay scale is great. You earn points for every survey complete, but the equivalent is $3/survey. You can save up your points for products or cash out via Paypal. You don’t get a million surveys from them either. But I’d say I get roughly 2 per month. It’s a very easy way to earn a little extra cash.

Money Management 101: Recap

money101Thank you for joining me through this series. If you missed any posts please go back and check them out. And feel free to use any information gleaned. I will continue to post more money saving/ earning opportunities and more tidbits in regards to this topic. I think it is very important to be good stewards of all that God has given us and especially our finances.

I just want to encourage you to stay the course no matter where you are. Create a budget. Live within your means and say no to debt when at all possible! Experience financial freedom like never before!

The Basics of Money Management
Budgeting: The Why and How
Dealing with Debt
How we Handle Money
Resources to Help