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$128 Worth Of Free Amazon Products

July 19th, 2019 at 11:51 am

I was just thinking about how small amounts of money add up and how I have used Swagbucks, and other sources to earn gift cards that then really result in free products.

I have accumulated enough points in the last six months with Swagbucks to redeem them for $128 worth of Amazon gift cards. I also redeem some for $25 cash deposited into my Paypal account.

Some of the things we bought with those Amazon gift cards either in full or partially are:
Printer ink
Engine and air filters for two vehicles
Vitamins (at least three orders)
TV antenna
2 books

Yes [ulr=https://www.swagbucks.com/lp-savings-button?cmp=695&cxid=swagbuttonref&rb=346111&extRefCmp=1&extRb=346111]Swagbucks[/url] is a little work, but I don't spend much time on it each day, thus why it can take about a month to accumulate $25 worth of points. I used to be able to rack up a lot more points, but I decided it wasn't worth THAT MUCH effort, so I'm pleased that with the little effort I do put in, I get some things we need and want with no cash outlay on our part.

While looking at our Amazon account I did notice a few other gift cards redeemed for $10. Those cards came from Fetch Rewards and the other from

Text is MyPoints and Link is https://www.mypoints.com?rb=25836026
MyPoints. And I redeemed
Text is Ibotta rebates and Link is https://ibotta.com/r/xjyhxxw
Ibotta rebates for cash.

If you want to join Fetch Rewards, which is very easy to use compared to Ibotta, you can download the app and enter my referral code FQ8U1. All you have to do is take a picture of your receipt. The app figures out what deals are available based on what you purchased. If you join and take a picture of one receipt before July 22, you will earn 3,000 points and I will as well. That 3,000 points can be redeemed for a $3 gift card to Amazon, Panera Bread, Target or Dunkin Donuts. Or you can accumulate more points and redeem for other things.

I used to track all these extras in more detail on my blog and shared them as little snowflakes. I still mention them, but not in quite as much detail.

What you like to get for free by capturing these easy ways to accumulate points and rewards? Right now I have just 240 Swagbucks, but I'm thinking I may use my next Amazon gift card to buy a new knife or two for my kitchen, or maybe a new product to try with this curly girl hair method.

Thank you in advance if you use any of my referral links. Share yours in the comments if you have a way you earn gift cards that I don't currently use.

Summer Rent & More

June 28th, 2019 at 02:03 pm

We have closed the book on the summer rent. I just sent my daughter the portion we agreed to pay for July, so she can pay that on Monday. It was $400.

The lease is up at the end of July...so she's going to stay either with my sister or my parents, or maybe a friend for about two weeks before she can get into the dorms. We would only need to pay the friends if that is the route she takes.

In order to come up with the $400 each month, I had stopped setting aside money for car repairs and maintenance which was $275. I also stopped my youngest daughter's allowance of $125 over the summer since she is staying with us. And she is doing a small part time job getting paid $11/hour.

In July and August, I'm going to add the $125 allowance money to her tuition category in our budget. She will get the allowance transferred to her starting again in September.

Because we are putting far less wear and tear on our vehicles here, barely driving many miles, and we are up to date on maintenance, I'm going to reroute the $275 to help us pay back the $3000 we put down on our daughter's car. It will end up in our emergency fund, so could still be used if we need vehicle maintenance. We currently have over $1000 in that sinking fund, so that money would be used first.

Considering a few months ago, this all seemed so overwhelming that I called it chaos in a blog post, I'm so thrilled that it worked out as well as it did. I also have clear plans on how the tuition and housing payments will be made for both girls in August and September. Our oldest daughter will take out her first college loan of $2750 this fall. Our youngest will have hers covered with cash on hand and her Educational Savings Account.

Somehow things often work out, especially when you make a plan and tweak a few things. So grateful we have that flexibility!

May Interest 2019 And Car Info

June 1st, 2019 at 04:42 pm

This is an update on our interest earnings for May. I expect the numbers to go down a bit in June, as our savings will be dropping by $3,000. We are earning close to 2.20% on that money currently, so this should amount to a loss of $5.50 each month until we pay ourselves back. But this is better than paying 4% interest on that same money!

NFCU $123. 08
FNBO $69.61
USAA $0.03
Total $192.72

Getting so close to $200 per month in interest. I guess I can hope interest rates will continue to rise to offset the small loss of interest on that $3,000.

The $3,000 was money we put towards our daughter's new to her car. She put $3000 towards it, and paid for the taxes and registration (nearly $1000) out of a UTMA account she had since she was little. The remainder of the car cost is a loan, we are paying the payment until she graduates. The payment is $133.50 per month.

Buying New Clothing

May 25th, 2019 at 06:34 am

My youngest daughter is home for the summer! She needed shorts, because it is very hot here. We stopped by JC Penney yesterday where she found two pairs marked on sale for $14.99. I had a $10 off coupon for spending over $25. The final total with tax was $21.82. Very pleased with this amount. She won't be wearing them daily, as she still prefers jeans even in the heat, but at least when we are out for longer periods of time she will be cooler.

I'm going to have to buy new clothes very soon, as I have lost 13 pounds recently, and I am down thirty pounds since a year ago April. My shorts I was wearing yesterday still stay up and feel fine around the waist, but my husband said they look really baggy! I rarely buy clothes, and am a near minimalist when it comes to what I wear, so I won't need to replace a large amount. I am tempted to thrift store shop only because I expect that the size I am now is not where I will stay. I think I will sell some of my old clothes, the jeans and a dress for sure. The rest is probably only worth donating.

Some people keep their large sizes when they lose weight, but I'm almost positive I have found the right thing for me this time where I will be able to maintain. I'm not going to comment on what is working for me until I have reached my goal and maintained for some time. And honestly, weight loss and health are personal, we all have to find what works for us.

Phones, Soda and Gum

May 22nd, 2019 at 12:06 pm

We just purchased new cell phones for my husband and youngest daughter. They have both had major issues with their phones recently, which forced this purchase sooner than expected, but over two years since they were last purchased. They are getting Moto Z3 phones which are $10/month each for 24 months, 0% interest. I do plan to sell their old phones on eBay as is for parts. I should be able to get $40-60 for both of them combined.

My husband has been on a kick recently of buying two sodas and a pack of gum, three to four times a week. This is after he has been home for lunch. The cost each time is just over $4, or $12-16/week. I mentioned buying a six pack or more to keep at work, or even store at home to take with him after lunch. I also mentioned the lower cost of his gum to buy in bulk on Amazon. Today he reported that he bought a six pack of soda and 3 pack of gum and spent just $4. He was very proud of himself for making this change. Of course, I wish he didn't buy soda at all! I will celebrate the win.

How Much Do You Spend On Beverages?

May 17th, 2019 at 07:33 am

I was watching an older episode of Living On Dime on YouTube and they mentioned that most people spend at least a quarter, if not more, of their grocery bill on beverages at the grocery store. For example, people buy coffee, juices, milk, soda, tea, gatorade, bottled water and alcohol.

We currently only buy ground coffee, and unfortunately alcohol. I guess we did buy milk this last week since our youngest daughter is home and eating cereal for breakfast.

We have in the past bought all of the beverages I listed above, not necessarily all in one shopping trip, but some of them were on a more regular basis. The truth is we only need water to live on!

I personally have reduced, although not eliminated, my alcohol consumption. I only wish I could get my husband on board. We would save a nice amount if we both stopped drinking.

Have you thought of reducing your beverage purchases in order to save money on your grocery bill?

P.S. Remember when I said I was going to stop buying taco seasoning packets? I failed the last time I went to the store and picked one up...whoops! Old habits can be hard to break. I do have the recipe on my fridge so hopefully this go around I will remember NOT to buy.

The Car Purchase

May 12th, 2019 at 07:44 am

Our trip back to the midwest was to help our oldest daughter move and purchase a used car. We ended up with a 2011 Subaru Forester with just over 100K miles.

We did put $6,000 down on the $11,400 purchase. The rest was financed over three years. The original interest rate at the dealership was 8.49%, which I balked at. They said it was because our daughter had no credit score (which is true). On Tuesday they called and said they found a lower rate of 5.74%! Wow, what a difference. We may still refinance this if we can. It's been years since we financed or bought a car, and honestly, we were a bit rusty with the process. There are probably things we could have done differently, such as check with USAA for a loan, but I remember I looked and dismissed it, but now I don't know why. It is what it is at this point.

We really like the car. Drove fantastic! Super clean engine. Nearly new tires. All wheel drive for winter driving should be helpful too. If it can last as long as the loan that will be a good thing!

The payment will be $133/mo, which once our daughter starts getting paid from her internship, she should be able to pay. She is a bit overwhelmed with the expenses of living on her own and mad that she can't save!! But that is yet to be seen. Hopefully, she will adjust well once she sees the paychecks. I think it's all a bit abstract right now to her. Of course, I will help her through the process.

Her insurance policy is about $450 every six months. We will cover that while she is still in school, which is now another expense we have added to our budget.

A New High And Budget Adjustments

April 28th, 2019 at 09:05 am

Yay! Our retirement accounts have reached a new high as of the closing on Friday afternoon. So grateful we have money increasing in value for retirement! We just keep plugging away adding funds to our account monthly. All of these contributions are set up automatically, so other than recorded them in our check register (which is auto on YNAB), we don't think too much about it. Auto investing is the way to go!

Yesterday's mail was fruitful financially. We received a refund check from our utility service here on base. We have stay at or under the average compared to similar sized homes on base for electrical and water usage. The result is a refund of $55.

The other check in the mail was the proceeds from our oldest daughter's UTMA. I'd have to go back and look at our total investment in that account, but I'm going to guess under $1,000 since the late 90s and early 2000s. The final redemption amount was $3,973.62. This is money going towards her first car. Her car will likely be more than this, but hopefully not by much.

I have two items ending on eBay that are being watched, so two sales possible. They won't make more than a few dollars, but it all adds up, as I have shown over and over again on this blog.

I cut our Hulu Live subscription effective today. It's saving us $45 a month. This is planned for the summer months to offset the need to pay $55 a month for our youngest daughter to store her dorm items this summer. Our older daughter has always stored her items at my parents since she is pretty close. Our youngest is much farther away, so this just made sense logistically. Not exactly how I want to spend money, but we are going to try it this first summer and see how it goes. I think my husband is going to miss Hulu, so this is temporary because we did like it for accessing college football in the fall.

I stopped our youngest daughter's allowance for the summer. She was receiving $125 a month from us. Honestly it far exceeded her needs and expenses. I noticed she seems to buy music and make Go Fund Me donations with it. I love that she is generous. The primary reason to end it for the summer and reevaluate is to help cover rent for our older daughter. Our younger daughter will be home and we can cover anything that comes up with our own budget. We will likely reinstate some form of spending money, but we also know she is starting a part time research job, so she will start accumulating her own spending money, thus less needed from us.

I've also decided to stop funding our car maintenance and repair sinking fund for a few months. We currently have $1000 set aside plus an emergency fund. We have been funding it with $275 a month because we have older cars. We are very current on major repairs and maintenance we we think this will not be an issue short term. We expect to start it back up in August or September. This change is also due to upcoming expenses with our daughter staying in her college town this summer.

I'm doing my best to maintain our current Big Savings Goal progress and monthly contributions, thus the reason for making other adjustments to the budget temporarily. I'm grateful that we have flexibility to make changes to how we spend our money.

Frugal Friday

April 5th, 2019 at 06:14 pm

It's been a very frugal week!

I ate out of the fridge, freezer and pantry through lunch today and could have eaten another meal without buying more food, but my husband is on his way home and will want dinner. There was nothing left he would eat...not a fan of veggie burgers! So I went to the store and picked up groceries for the weekend primarily. Some items will carry over into next week.

I spent $40.65 out of pocket for some of our staples, including organic eggs, meat and almond butter. Cost was actually $50.65. I used a $10 NAPA Visa rebate from when we bought the battery for my husband's truck. I pulled that $10 from our grocery budget and put it in our Big Savings Goal.

I sold an item on eBay for a net profit of $3.73 and did a Pinecone survey and now have another $3 in my Paypal account. I also added these to the Big Goal Savings!

Other than the spending today, I did not purchase anything this week. Was your week frugal?

Random Money Updates

March 27th, 2019 at 08:57 am

Spring break with the girls was wonderful! We had a good balance of relaxing, which they really needed and getting out to explore some things. We did several free things and had dinner out twice, so we easily spent under $150 for those kinds of things. Our grocery bill went up slightly, but that's to be expected.

I found a quarter out back in the alley when I was talking to a neighbor. I love finding cash on the ground!

I'm working on my next $25 Amazon or Paypal redemption with Swagbucks. I really just try to complete the To Do List on the left hand side of the home page. I try the surveys, but I'm not always successful, so as to not waste any more time, I do skip that one. I think Rose asked in another post about how to do it. I would suggest following Swagbucks Swaggernauts on FB for tips and pointers. There is definitely a learning curve. I have found a free malware extension on my computer helps with the junk that can come from using the site.

We received our $10 Visa rebate card in the mail from NAPA for the battery we purchased a couple months back. I plan to use it out shopping. I will then add $10 cash to the Big Goal.

I've redeemed some credit card cash back rewards and will update with a total for March when I report how much progress we made on our Big Goal this month.

We need to already be thinking about airline tickets for May! We will likely go back to the Midwest to help move our daughter's out and help our oldest daughter buy her first car. She is likely going to be staying back there this summer to take a class and get a job or internship. Lots of activity around here and spending.

I have three items I need to sell. Two should be able to go on eBay and the other should go up on a local sales page. I rarely do eBay any more since my main motivation was usually to sell outgrown clothes and toys. I saw a YouTube video the other day though that reminded me of how it is possible to buy items at garage sales and resell them for more. Something I might try and see if it keeps me interested. Clearly more work than finding items in my house!

Please excuse my random thoughts!