So, amidst all the New Year's intentions and learning to make exercise a self-loving habit, I have also been busy learning new ways to have the things we want without the cost. The prospect of being a full time graduate student, aside from the work, brings about visions of the ridiculous expense. While it is temporary, I thought I would share what I have learned over the last six months in case you are looking for ways to afford more of what you want during these tough times:
Swagbucks This one has been completely effortless. While there are many, many ways to earn points here, the easiest is by using it as a search engine ALL THE TIME. I have begun even putting in my favorite sites or even those I book marked because it goes towards my points tally AND moves them up in the search results. These point can be traded for all kinds of "swag" as they add up but I turn them into Amazon gift cards. I started this in November along with Opinion Outpost and paid for about half of my Christmas gifts between the two. This year, I am saving both up and using them to pay for Christmas gifts exclusively. Whatever I accumulate will be my budget for those items and I will not spend out of pocket this year for that. What a concept right?
Opinion Outpost I have loved this one for several reason. Unlike Swagbucks, this is CASH folks. You can turn in into Amazon gift cards immediately (Swagbucks posts on the 16th and the 30th) but instead, you can get a check cut directly to you. I have earned $70 since November and its super easy. You will get email notifications as soon as something matching your demographics pops up and the faster you can complete them the better (once they have enough applicants, it closes). I have gotten to see preview of new movies, video games, foods, etc. and voice my opinions on my everyday purchases all the way to public policy. It allows me to contribute on a larger scale to influence the things I would use anyway. I can't gush enough about this one.
Coupon Geek This is my favorite money saving blogs. She compiles SO much good info on all the sales and where she cant, she finds the links to folks that do. I used to think I could not afford to spend the time to do the clipping and research but now I simply pick up the paper, clip on Sunday and check in with Jaycie on Monday or Tuesday. I am also on her mailing list so I don't miss any free samples! I stock my pantry and organize the weeks meals based on what is on sale. I regularly get approximately $40 off my bill each week and am working to cut my already small grocery budget even smaller. It is now a fun challenge instead of an overwhelming task.
House Party This site is cool. You can throw parties for you and 10 friends and receive free stuff and coupons for free products for you all. My first one is for Oscar Meyer Turkey Bacon. Free is always good!
Vocalpoint This site is great because it is a place where you can voice your opinion and doing so puts you on the list for special offers to purchase before items are available in stores, coupons, contests and loads of other things. I got the new Tide sticks and wrinkle release this way at a discounted rate.
W Originals This is one of my favorite magazines and most of them have a similar program so check the website for your favorite. I am part of a reader panel where I complete surveys for a variety of things. Last year I won $500, a study of Lancome eye cream in which I received a full size jar and a new skincare trial of something not yet on the market that I am currently participating in. Totally worth the time.
Recycle Bank Similar to Swagbucks this site allows you to earn points for free stuff. I am currently stocked up on pistachios for a couple of months because I combine free bag and $2 off coupons with a BOGO sale at Kroger netting me bags for 99cents a piece (these are normally $6.99). Great deal and healthy snack.
Kashless This site is great. Put in your zip code and find things in your area people are getting rid of for free. There are appliances, furniture and more, just for your willingness to pick it up. A great way to find treasures.
There are a TON of other things. I am thinking about doing this weekly. Hopefully you find something here that will help you too!
Lator gators. :)