Thursday, December 2, 2010

Free $$$- Seriously FREE!

With Christmas just around the corner, I have found the value of the little things we have done this year to help cushion our Christmas budget. Amazingly, some of the small things have added up to provide us with the ability to give generously without breaking the bank. Here are a few of my favorite things from the year:
  • Swagbucks. Simply using swagbucks as my search engine (which is SUPER easy when you download the tool bar) I have purchased numerous gift cards as gifts without spending one penny! You get points for searching the web, taking surveys, etc. and then you can cash that in for gift cards, prizes, etc.
  • Ebates.  This is another favorite of mine. Since I do most of my shopping online (thanks to the May Flood wiping out my favorite mall!) I now first click on Ebates before I go to the site I want to buy from. Ebates offers anywhere from 1%-20% back on purchases. When you sign up you get an automatic $5 in your account. Each time you make online purchases, click on Ebates, type in the address your looking for and then shop away. Your account balance will show up on your home page. Every so often you'll get a check in the mail with your "rebate" money.
  • Capital One Rewards: we aren't big credit card users. In fact, we use ours mostly for online purchases for security reasons and then pay it off monthly. We were able to order over $300 worth of gift cards for free by cashing in our points this month.
  • My Y Rewards: If you're a member of the YMCA, make sure you sign up for this one. I've gotten everything from DS games to toaster ovens for free simply for scanning my card each time I work out.
  • Craigslist: If you aren't familiar with Craigslist, this is a GREAT way to make some extra cash. I wanted to buy my husband an Ipad for our anniversary this summer, but it wasn't in the budget. So, I decided to clean up around the house, put several things on craigslist and make some extra cash to help buy the Ipad. You can seriously sell almost anything on Craigslist and since it's a free site you can see instant results. (I do recommend NEVER allowing someone from Craigslist to know your name and address or come to your home. I always meet people I am selling to in public places and often take a friend/parent along with me.)
  • Ebay: So you think those old shoes in your closet aren't worth anything? What about your kid's old Lego set or your daughter's American Girl Doll that she doesn't play with anymore.I just ordered these great Uggs with the $ I made from selling on ebay. It's easy to do, takes very little time and things sell for quite a bit more than they do on Craigslist.
  • Retailmenot: Before I make any purchase, I go through this site to see what all coupon codes are out there. Often times, you can combine coupon codes for further savings. You can almost always find codes for free shipping, $ off or another form of savings.
  • Take old books (some great ones are old books I had to read in high school/college for literature classes), CD's, DVD's, etc to local used book stores. You can earn quick cash this way or get even more $ towards in store credits. I have used this $ to buy my kids lots of books in the American Girl series and even an American Girl DVD.
These are just a few of the ways that we have made extra money this year. I have friends who have had great luck with mystery shopping, filling out online surveys and other easy ways to make a little extra money. If you have any great tips, please share them!

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