February 26, 2013

2013 Coupon Insert Schedule

3 — Redplum & Smart Source
10 — Redplum & Smart Source
17 — Redplum & Smart Source
24 — Redplum & Smart Source & Procter and Gamble
31 — No Inserts
7 — (2) Redplum & (2) Smart Source & Procter and Gamble
14 — Redplum
21 — Smart Source
28 — Redplum & Smart Source & Procter and Gamble
5 — Redplum & Smart Source
12 — Redplum & Smart Source
19 — Redplum & Smart Source
26 — Procter and Gamble
2 — Redplum    & Smart Source
9 — Redplum & Smart Source
16 — Redplum & Smart Source
23 —  Redplum & Smart Source
30 — Redplum & Procter and Gamble
7 — Procter and Gamble
14 — Redplum & Smart Source
21 — Smart Source
28 — (2) Redplum & Smart Source & Procter and Gamble
4 —  (2) Redplum & (2) Smart Source
11 — Redplum & Smart Source
18 — Redplum & Smart Source
25 — Redplum & Smart Source
1 — Procter and Gamble
8 — Redplum & (2) Smart Source
15 — Redplum & Smart Source
22 — Smart Source
29 — Redplum & Smart Source
6 — Redplum & (2) Smart Source & Procter and Gamble
13 — Redplum & Smart Source
20 — Smart Source
27 — Redplum & Smart Source & Procter and Gamble
3 — Redplum & Smart Source
10 — Redplum & Smart Source
17 — Smart Source
24 — Redplum & Smart Source & Procter and Gamble
1 — Procter and Gamble
8 — Redplum & Smart Source
15 — Redplum & Smart Source
22 — No Inserts
29 — Procter and Gamble

A dollar a day...

As 2013 approached, I decided it was time for a financial makeover. I was tired of being in a money rut, so I knew it was time to make some serious sacrifices and changes. I was reminded of some old financial advice "a penny saved is a penny earned", or "have 3-6 months of your salary saved in case of emergency"... I though to myself, "how can I afford to put away 3-6 months worth of income with our bills and with the economy as shaky as ever?" 

I figured I'll just keep it simple. If I determined to save $1 a day, by the end of the year I would have $365. That's not a bad start! But of course, in order to free up $30-31 dollars a month, something would have to be cut out to make that happen. That's where packing my own lunch came in. On average, we spend $7 dollars per meal, that's an immediate savings of $210 per month. Now don't get me wrong, there are still days when I don't want left overs or cup of Ramen noodles and I splurge with my co-workers on Friday afternoons. 

The act of transferring $1 from my checking to my savings encourages me to continue building my emergency fund. It's not a huge sacrifice, rather it shows me that I am actively participating in securing my financial future with a simple task. I've also been able to put a little bit more in savings by enacting some "No Spend Days". These are days that I do not spend a single penny. I know what you're thinking, but it is NOT IMPOSSIBLE. It takes work and dedication and a change in your way of thinking. At first I kept doubting my ability to succeed, but I persevered by reminding myself that in the long run I would have an easier time coming up with a couple of hundred dollars if my car broke down rather than having to come up with it on the fly. It's a great feeling knowing that I'm preparing myself for those "OH NO" moments. 

February 25, 2013

Be willing & listen...

Often times I ask God, "when will you use me Lord?". I usually don't get a response... But when He does speak, it is unmistakable. While at church yesterday, I had an impromptu conversation with the lady that brews the coffee for our congregation each Sunday. She's been through so much in the past 6 months, after having completed Chemo for Lymphoma, she is now Cancer free! She began to share with me a need for her daughter whom is attending her very first Military Ball (Obviously a very special occasion). She didn't ask me for anything, she was just sharing her story and as I sat down in the sanctuary, I spoke with my husband and asked if we could help. Of course he did not mind, but we did not have the cash readily available. As I was rifling through my purse, I was quickly reminded that I had accrued some gift cards from my "side income" that I happened to have in my wallet. I quickly tucked the cards in an envelope and quietly handed them to her.

As I walked back, I was filled with such a feeling of Joy for being able to be used as an instrument of Gods love. I realize I am not the source that met her need, only the resource. I thank God for using me. 

Courageous (Kindle Edition-FREE) HOT!

courageousAmazon is offering Courageous: A Novel for FREE right now – was $14.99. This book has great reviews and is the Retailers Choice Award winner, 2012!
From the creators of Fireproof comes an inspiring new story about everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children. As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, and their partners willingly stand up to the worst the world can offer. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood. While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they’re quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.
Amazon pricing changes frequently, so this deal may expire at any time.

February 22, 2013

End of week totals...

It's that time again, end of week totals... Let's see how I did on generating side income this week.

  • Plink 2,420 points (equals $20 gift card)

  • Inbox Surveys $15.89 (Cash via Check)

  • Panda Surveys $19.75 (Cash via Paypal)

  • Shopkicks 7,167 points (equals $30.00 gift card)

  • Swagbucks 3,340 points (equals $35.00 gift card)

  • Health Savings Account $80.00 ($10 paycheck contribution)

  • Amazon Gift Card $68.51 (Christmas gift and Rewards)

  • Amazon MP3 Credits ($4.00 from surveys and twitter links)

  • Emergency Fund Savings $950.00 (Goal by end of 2013 $2500.00)

I have almost achieved my goal of accruing 1000 shopkicks per month. The greatest increase has been in my emergency savings account, I have been working very hard to take my lunch to work and to have a few "NO SPEND DAYS" each week. It's still very much a work in progress, but nonetheless it is very rewarding to have a few outlets of income.

An Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude is such a beautiful characteristic, it is humble, kind, bashful, selfless and desires to help others. I love making a list of the things that I am grateful for, it reminds me of how blessed we are and shows me how much the Lord loves me.

  • My 12 year old car that still runs like a dream
  • My emergency fund
  • My ability to remain organized (for myself, husband & father)
  • My 3 Cats that love me unconditionally
  • Receiving a smile from a stranger (reminds me there are still good people out there)
  • My Kindle Fire (a Christmas gift from my husband)

It does not matter if the things you are grateful for are material, physical, or a lifelong dream, what matters is how it is reflected in your daily life. 
What are you grateful for? 

A love note to my King

Lord, thank you for my life
thank you for my husband
thank you for my family
thank you for my job
thank you for my church
thank you for my friends
thank you for my health
thank you for your protection
thank you for your grace and mercies
thank you for letting me mess up and dusting me off
thank you for your unconditional love
Thank you

February 20, 2013

Rewarding Smartphone Apps (pt.#1)

From the day I got my Smartphone, it became a “can’t live without it” item. The excitement over this new toy only increased when I learned that in addition to organizing my to-do list, I could also use it to earn money and redeemable points! There are several different apps out there you can use for these purposes, but the following five are very popular:

1. Field Agent:

Field Agent is for iPhone users only. You get paid for using your phone to do things like take pictures of store displays and answer short surveys. Most jobs pay between $2 and $8 each. Payment is made with Paypal.

2. Gig Walk:

The Gig Walk app is also just for the iPhone, and it is very similar to Field Agent. You get paid cash for doing little odd jobs which normally involve taking pictures with your phone while you’re out and about.
The app is limited for use by people in certain geographic areas which currently include the San Francisco Bay area, Chicago, Los Angeles, South Florida, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Payout is via Paypal.

3. Check Point:

The CheckPoints app is my favorite! I use it almost every time I go shopping. You just open the app, find the products listed in the store, and scan the item barcodes with your phone.
You’ll get redeemable points for each item you scan, and you can use these to get gift cards to your favorite stores (including Amazon)! You can also earn points for downloading and trying out apps.The Checkpoints app is available for iPhone and Android users.

4. WeReward:

The WeReward app will award you points for taking pictures of yourself with different products, checking in at various places of business, and for trying out new apps. Every point you get equals one cent and most “jobs” pay anywhere from 10 points to 500 points.
You can cash out with Paypal once you have $10 in your account. This app is open to iPhone, Blackberry, and Android users.

5. ShopKick:

Using the ShopKick app is a lot like using the Checkpoints app — you scan products while you shop and earn points that you can redeem for gift cards.
You can also use the app to take advantage of special in-store offers exclusive to Shopkick users. These offers are easily redeemable right at the cash register — you just let the cashier scan your phone. The app is available for iPhone and Android users.
These smartphone apps are all FREE to download and use. Just do a search for them in your app store, install, and start getting rewarded for things you do every day!
Story by Moneysavingmom

February 19, 2013

10 Ways to score more Swagbucks

If you love Freebies as much as I do and enjoy getting free gift cards then you've got to try Swagbucks 

Simply use Swagbucks instead of your regular search engine when searching the web and start scoring your Swagbucks. You can cash in your virtual bucks for FREE gift cards from Home Depot, Target, Starbucks, Amazon, and much more! I especially enjoy cashing in my bucks for the $5 Amazon gift cards! I use them to purchase Christmas gifts for loved ones. After you have registered for Swagbucks, here are 10 Ways to Earn More Swagbucks...

Vote in the Daily Swagbucks Poll to score 1 extra Swagbuck each day!

Read the Swagbucks Blog, and watch for periodic swag codes!

Follow Swagbucks on Twitter, and watch for periodic swag codes!

Follow Swagbucks on Facebook, and watch for periodic swag codes!

Install the Swagbucks Toolbar (Each day when you reboot your computer, you’ll receive 1 Swagbuck!)
Invite your friends to join Swagbucks (When they search & win Swagbucks, you’ll win, too!, up to 1000 bucks)

Use Swagbucks for all of your Internet searches! (No matter how silly or small)

Watch Swagbucks TV

Play Swagbucks Games!

Use Swagbucks on Fridays! (Every Friday is Mega Swagbucks Day, your chances of scoring higher value bucks increases)!

So what are you waiting for? Go to Swagbucks, and get searching! 

February 18, 2013

Prepaid vs. Contract (pt. 2)

If you or anyone in your family has a smartphone, you know that your monthly bill is easily $80 a month, and can top $125 if you are on it a lot. A new survey finds that 60 percent of iPhone users now pay well over $100 a month. A prepaid phone can get you a smartphone at a flip phone price. In some cases, it's uncanny the difference between a prepaid plan and a standard monthly plan. And of all the prepaid plans, Walmart's Straight Talk is the fastest growing. It's no wonder, as Straight Talk, run by Tracfone, is just at $45 a month, undercutting all the other major plans. 

Straight Talk 
For $45 a month you get unlimited talk, as many minutes as you want, and unlimited text," without a two-year contract. 
Even data is listed as unlimited, though you may find data "throttled," or slowed down, after you hit 2GB. There is one catch to this and all prepaid, contract-free, plans: You have to buy your smartphone at full price, such as $600 to $650 for an iPhone 5 (the iPhone 4S runs about $200 less). 

Other Options Expanding 
It seems everyone is now pushing prepaid. Cricket, an early comer, offers prepaid smartphones, also with unlimited data, for $50 a month (it can vary slightly by Cricket location). 

Tracfone (which runs Walmart's Straight Talk) continues to offer non-Walmart plans at similar rates that are offered at Walmart. 

Net 10 Wireless and Boost Mobile both offer a plan, also with unlimited talk, text and data, for $50 a month. 

Virgin Mobile currently offers a deal at just $35 a month for unlimited data, though talk is limited to 300 minutes. So this is a plan for texters and data users, not heavy talkers. 

Cincinnati Bell's i-Wireless prepaid plan is also $50 a month, and offers a generous 4GB of data, along with unlimited talk and text. 

Even more expensive top tier carriers like T-MobileAT&T, and Verizon are jumping in. Sprint was launching one as this story was being written (full details not yet available).
Until now, these plans have been fairly expensive, but Verizon just unveiled a new $60 a month plan for light data users. It's $70 a month to bump up to a more popular 2GB of data: That's not super cheap but is a decent deal from a major carrier. AT&T also offers unlimited talk and text with 1GB of data for $65. T-Mobile offers a variety of different plans, offering unlimited data and text for as low as $30, as long as you can manage the mere 100 minutes of talk. 

Customers Warming to Prepaid
With prepaid you either buy a card at the store each month, or get billed in advance, so you don't have to walk into Walmart or the Cricket store every month if you prefer not to. 
So if you know where to look, you can still get a smartphone plan for $50 a month, or even less, and it doesn't have to look like a 15-year-old flip phone. 
Virgin Mobile$35300 minsUnlimitedUnlimitedLimited 4G
T-Mobile$30100 minsUnlimitedUnlimitedLow talk
T-Mobile$301500 minsUnlimited30MBLow data
Walmart Straight Talk$45UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedSlows after 2GB
Cincinnati Bell$50UnlimitedUnlimited4GB
Cricket$50UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedSlows after 1GB
Net10 Wireless$50UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Boost Mobile$50UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedLimited 4G
Story by John Matarese of ABC Action News

Lost and Found

A great resource when searching for spare change. I came across this website 2 years ago when I was out of work. I wondered if it was legitimate but decided to give it a try. I typed in my name and city/state and found that I had $70.00 owed to me from an insurance deductible that I had no idea was out there. Needless to say, it felt like my lucky day, so I proceeded and found $417.00 for my father too. Now I check it once a year because you never know when a company will report the outstanding reimbursement to the state in which you live.

It is definitely worth the search on www.missingmoney.com, you never know, you might find that you have money waiting for you. Happy Hunting :)

Food & Fun at the Fair

We had such a wonderful time at the fair, it's pretty evident by the smiles, rides, food and more. We were very blessed to receive free tickets and free unlimited rides courtesy of my sister in law, Amanda. Today is closing day but we all plan to go back next year and perhaps spend a little more time. 

February 16, 2013

End of week totals... (2/15/13)

Each week I will be sharing my totals for the money I have been able to generate as my "side income". Here are this weeks totals for my favorite rewards programs...

  • Plink 2,100 points (Equals $20 gift card)

  • Shopkicks 7,027 points (Equals $25.00 gift card)

  • Swagbucks 3,193 points (Equals $35 gift card)

  • Health Savings Account $70.00 (Contribute $10 per pay check)

  • Panda Research $18.91 (Cash via Paypal)

  • Amazon gift card balance $69.51 (Received as Christmas gifts & rewards)

The programs that require the least amount of effort are Plink, Shopkicks and Swagbucks because they work according to a point system. For those cash programs that pay you via Check and Paypal, it does take some effort, but of course the more time you spend, the more money you can generate. 

One of the reasons I participate in these rewards programs is because it's a very helpful source of extra income, but the main reason I use them is because this is the money and gift cards I will be using for Christmas. We do not plan on cashing out until November 1st, so we have plenty of time to rack up some more points and cash. 

February 15, 2013

Publix coupons going digital

Publix has announced that they are unveiling their E-coupons program beginning in March at participating locations.
What is Publix Digital Coupons? It's a program that allows you to select digital coupons online and then redeem them when you checkout by punching in a 10-digit pin on the keypad (10 digit pin is your phone number). These electronic coupons are the same as regular paper coupons. You don't need to print them, and the values of your “clipped” coupons are automatically deducted when you physically purchase the item corresponding with the coupon. You don't have to use the digital coupons if you choose not to; Publix will still accept the exact same coupon in paper form. However, you will not be allowed to use both the same paper and digital coupon on one item. If you give a paper coupon that matches one in your digital account, they will deduct the paper coupon and the digital one will remain in your account for future use. How will it work if/when it’s rolled out in your area? According to the FAQ section on Publix’ Digital Coupon page, you must create a Publix Digital Coupons account. To create an account, you must register HERE by entering the following information:
  • 10-digit Phone Number (must be unique, will be used as your 10-digit Publix Digital Coupons account #)
  • Email Address (will be used as your Publix Digital Coupons web/mobile login name)
  • Zip Code
  • Password
  • Additionally, you will need to accept the program terms of service.
From there you will be able to log in and “clip” digital coupons, both on your home computer or on your web-enabled smart phone. With 60 coupons available to print and no limit to the amount of coupons you “clip,” this is a great way to eliminate some of the paperwork required with putting together a shopping trip and the money you save on the toner for your printer is so worth it! There are some manufacturer coupons to clip, but most are Publix store coupons – even better!
**NOTE** Coupons you “clip” digitally will be available for use immediately. This is nice for those times when you “lose” or forget a coupon at home – just log on with your smart phone and “clip” the coupon; the savings will be deducted at checkout!
Thanks Addicted to Saving!

Short Term Goals...

So, last week we discussed the importance of setting long term goals, but let's not forget the equally important short term goal. Often times it is overlooked as unneccessary, but I've found that they help me tremendously with achieving my long term goals. As I accomplish a short term, it builds my confidence, keeps me on task and makes my future goals seem easily attainable. Here are just a few that I'm working on for February...

Short Term Goals:

  • Read (3) E-books per month (So far 1 done)
  • Obtain 500-1000 Shopkicks per month (600 collected so far)
  • Obtain 1500 Plink points per month (equals $15.00 gift card)
  • Obtain 510 Swagbucks per month (equals $5.00 amazon gift card)
  • Plan bi-weekly date night
  • Car maintenance (Tune up, Oil Change, Air Filter, Wipers)
  • Donate clothing to Salvation Army (Once a month)
The remaining time for this month is brief but I hope to have everything accomplished by the end of next week. 

What goals have you set and what methods are you using to achieve them? 

February 14, 2013

A look ahead...

Next week I will begin sharing a few of my favorite cash back and rewards programs and money saving Apps. They have been a great source of "side income" for my husband and I. Aside from the simple and easy sign up they offer great rewards like cash and/or gift cards. In addition, each week I will share my progress with you with a cash/gift card totals tally.  

Also, the Florida State Fair is in town and we had a blast, the rides, the food and the company were all fantastic, watch out for photos. Don't forget to sign up to receive our emails so you don't miss out on these great money saving and money making tips!

Join Plink & Earn Rewards (HOT!)

Get paid to eat and shop at your favorite stores and restaurants. Join Plink and earn Cash and Rewards from Amazon, I-tunes, Home Depot, Facebook and more… just for eating and shopping at some of your favorite stores and restaurants.

Earn points at places like Dunkin Donuts, Arbys, Tacobell, 7-11, Outback steakhouse and more.

You’ll earn rewards at more than 35,000 locations nation-wide. It’s free to join plus they have an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau.

My husband and I both joined Plink Rewards and have already racked up $60.00 in Amazon gift cards since January 2013. We enjoy going out to eat as a treat and we have to fill up on gasoline for our car, so why not get rewarded for it along the way. 

Click here to join Plink Rewards

Duck Dynasty $9.99 @ Amazon

duck dynasty
Amazon has the First Season of Duck Dynasty marked down from $19.99 to only $9.99 and it ships for free with your Prime Membership or any $25 order!

February 13, 2013

Free Movie Rental @ Redbox

Until 2/14/13, you can use code SWEET or HEART at any Redbox kiosk to get a free one night rental. Remember to return your movie by 9pm the next night to avoid the nightly rental charge. You can use this code once per credit card which means you can get more than one free movie by using another credit card!

Book Review Coming Soon...

Something new I'd like to start doing is sharing a few book reviews. I just finished "The Duck Commander Family", a book about the family featured in the popular A&E series "Duck Dynasty". Stayed tuned this weekend for the complete review and a clue as to the new book on my February reading list.

February 12, 2013

Free Tax Filing

Several tax companies are offering deals this tax season.  You can lower your tax bill by taking advantage of these free online programs.  You can also use them to get an idea of what your return may be before you file.
My husband and I have had great luck with Turbo Tax over the last 4 years. We're using it again this year!

Inbox Dollars (Paid Surveys)

If you’re looking for a way to earn some extra cash from home, here’s a new opportunity from Inbox Dollars.  Earn $5 just by joining, and then get additional rewards by reading emails, shopping online, and completing surveys. I joined Inbox Dollars a year ago, and while it won’t make you rich,  you can earn a few extra dollars by taking their surveys.

Read Emails – this is the easiest way to earn with InboxDollars. Join InboxDollars and you’ll start receiving emails with offers on products and services. Simply click the link at the bottom of each email to confirm that you read it and you’ll earn cash rewards. You don’t have to purchase or sign up for anything, but of course if you complete the offer in the email you will earn even more cash!
Complete 100% FREE Offers – Check out the 100% FREE offers area of the InboxDollars site and you can earn cash (between $0.25 – $3.00) for trialing a new product or service with no money down and no credit card required. To find 100% FREE offers, visit InboxDollars.com, place your mouse over “Offers” and you’ll see 100% FREE offers as the first option.
Search the Web – you must download the InboxDollars toolbar to use its paid search feature. You earn $1.00 for downloading the toolbar and earn $0.01 per search per day, up to a maximum of $0.05 cents per day. Do five searches a day to max out your earnings!
Watch Videos – this may be the most fun way to earn rewards. Simply watch short videos on InboxDollars.com and you’ll earn cash – up to 6 cents per short video. New videos are posted every week, so you’ll always have new opportunities to watch and earn.
Take Surveys – earn between $0.50 – $10.00 for sharing your opinion via surveys. InboxDollars emails you with survey opportunities and posts new surveys to its website every day.
It’s easy to earn your first $30 in about 4-5 weeks. After receiving your $5 sign-up bonus, complete 5-10 surveys and several 100% FREE offers, read emails regularly, do web searches and watch a few videos each week. Once you’ve reached $30 in earnings, remember you need to request your first payment. Visit your My Account area on the site and click on “Request Payment” so InboxDollars can verify your mailing address and get a check in the mail to you.

Mint (Budget Tool & App)

A couple of months ago, I discovered Mint.com. It has really helped to keep me on track with my budgeting and kept me accountable. It is very user friendly especially for novices like myself, but the best part is that everything is simple to understand. If you’re not familiar with Mint.com, it’s is a great, free website that helps you manage your money. There is also an fantastic free app you can download. 
You can enter your budget, it shows how much you are spending and warns you if you are about to over spend. 
You can categorize every purchase, then it breaks down your spending so you can see exactly where your money is going. 
It creates a beautiful pie chart (for those who love to see numbers in picture form!) to show what percentage of your money is going where. 
The app lets you see how much is in your account and how much you’ve spent from your budget. 
When you enter your budget, it shows what the national average is for spending in that category (which is so interesting, and exciting when you see you’re spending a lot less than everyone else!)

February 11, 2013

Say NO to Fees

Avoid ATM fees like the plague. It’s like throwing money away…literally. Here's a few tips to help you hang on to your hard earned money:
  • Only use free ATMs, which are the ones at your banking institution. If you bank at a smaller “hometown” bank, consider switching to one with a larger ATM network (like Suntrust Bank).
  • Bank with financial institutions that will reimburse your fees (like USAA). 
  • Keep a little "mad money" at home for unforeseen outings. Instead of “running to the ATM”, we can just grab what we need.
  • Get cash back. These days, most ATM cards double as debit cards. If I need some cash, I simply use the cash back feature offered at most checkouts. Some stores will allow you to get as much as $100 back!

Kick the cola

Did you now that just two sodas, energy drinks, or fancy coffee drinks can cost as much as $5 a day…that’s $150 a month and $1,800 a year! I ♥ my coffee, but I rarely go through the Starbucks drive-thru because why pay for something I can make for pennies at home? Sure, I get an occasional hot coffee or tea when I’m out but it’s rare. It’s a special treat. I can afford it, but I’d rather save my money so I have more for things I really want! Nickels and dimes…they add up ;)