April 27, 2013

Join Plink & Earn Rewards!

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

April 26, 2013

End of week totals...

This has been another so-so week on side income, but I am happy with the  increase in the Emergency fund. Here's how it looks...

  • Plink 7940 points ($75 gift card)
  • Swagbucks 4517 points ($50 gift card)
  • Inbox Dollars $25.46 (via check)
  • Panda $26.83 (via paypal)
  • Health Savings Account $170 ($10 weekly contribution)
  • Shopkicks 9299 points ($25 gift card)
  • Check points 2261 (To be determined)
  • My Coke Rewards 379 points
  • Perkstreet Perks $7
  • Amazon ($52 gift card from Christmas & Rewards)
  • Emergency Savings Fund $1517.63
There is overtime available this weekend, so that money will go directly into savings next week. I'm also hoping to increase my Shopkick and Plink points this weekend. 

April 24, 2013

Nice to be appreciated!

A lovely gift on my desk this morning for Administrative Professionals Day. What a nice surprise.

April 22, 2013

The joy of sharing

I wanted to share some scriptures that speaks directly to the purpose of Grace Saved, scriptures about Giving, Faith, Contentment & Obedience. You have often heard me talking about sharing the bounties of your stockpiles with those that do not have, I've found that it's the simplest way to show the love of Christ. My husband and I have known what "real need" is, perhaps you were faced with a similar situation and experienced the kindness of a friend or stranger that selflessly gave of their own. It is such a rewarding and humbling joy to help and to be helped, I can express it in a thousand different ways, but I'd rather you hear it from the Father.

Matthew 6:31-33
“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Philippians 4:11-13
For I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of eating well or going hungry of facing either plenty of poverty. I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who lives within me.

Deuteronomy 15:10
Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.

Proverbs 3:27 
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

Proverbs 22:9
He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.

Matthew 6:3-4
But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Luke 6:38
Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

Matthew 25:40
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did itunto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me.

I hope these scriptures have encouraged you today as they have done for me.

April 21, 2013

Re-purpose bread tabs


What a great idea! Grab those tabs off of your bread loafs, but don't throw them away, label them and re-use. 

Whenever I unplug, I forget what plugs goes to what electronic device and it gets frustrating. This will certainly help to keep you organized and save yourself the aggravation. 

April 20, 2013

Savings burn-out?

Is there such a thing as savings burn-out? Are you tired of couponing, using apps for points, pinching pennies and so on? Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming, even frustrating. I've experienced this feeling many times, I carry my coupons, my savings card, my ECB's, my smartphone, my notebook and more, just so I don't miss a deal to save a buck.

It's not uncommon, and don't even think for a moment that you're a failure. We all get burnt out from time to time, no matter what the hobby or job. The ultimate goal of saving money is for emergencies, vacations or whatever else you desire. These are great things to look forward to, so when you feel like you're at your end, just remember that it's all for a good purpose. 

Where to find freebies

I'm always on the hunt for freebies and samples. Here are 3 of my favorites that I can always count on. Click on each one below.

Have fun ordering your free products!

April 19, 2013

Weekend plans...

I've had a hankering to hit the flea markets this weekend. I'm not looking for anything in particular, just looking around. I'm planning on only taking $15 cash & leaving the debit card behind. I'd like to see what I end up with??? 

Have a great weekend, and Happy Saving!

End of weeks totals...

This week has been so-so on side income, with an injury I sustained this week, I wasn't as active as I'd like to have been. Here's how we did...

  • Plink 7450 points ($70 gift card)
  • Swagbucks 4406 points ($45 gift card)
  • Inbox Dollars $25.46 (via check)
  • Panda $26.42 (via paypal)
  • Health Savings Account $160 ($10 weekly contribution)
  • Shopkicks 9203 points ($25 gift card)
  • Check points 2001 (To be determined)
  • My Coke Rewards 319 points
  • Perkstreet Perks $7
  • Amazon ($52 gift card from Christmas & Rewards)
  • Emergency Savings Fund $1453.16
The biggest mover and shaker this week was the Emergency  Fund. I was able to do my $1 a day contribution, along with my $50 payroll deduction and my week 15 savings challenge of $15. I also got a little bonus this week and decided to put it in savings since I was not expecting it. I hope to see big increases for Shopkicks and Checkpoints this weekend. 

April 15, 2013

Free Costco Membership...

Costco, one of the most popular warehouse chains in the country, increased its annual membership fee in 2011 by $5, bringing the yearly cost of its regular “Gold membership” to $55. But here’s a trick to help you avoid the Costco membership fee.

What if you’re not sure you like Costco enough to spend the $55 to get in the doors? Or what if you only need to go once or twice a year? Thanks to the Costco gift card, a gift card available to members, non-members can gain access to Costco anytime.

5 Tips to avoiding the Costco Membership Fee
  • Have a friend with a Costco membership purchase a bunch of $10 Costco cash cards next time their in store
  • Take one along to Costco, using it to gain access at the entrance
  • Follow the greeters instructions to head to the Customer Service desk to receive a temporary membership card.
  • Shop for all your needs knowing there will be no additional fees or surcharges.
  • When you check out, make a partial payment with your Costco cash card and the remaining with cash or debit card.
Is this trick ethical?
Costco cards are designed to be given as gifts and used by Non-members to shop at Costco with the hope that they will decide to become life long paying members over time. 

Story by Kyle Psaty of Perkstreet

April 13, 2013

Where has the time gone?

Does budgeting your time give you an edge? I’ve looked at the numbers and figured that poor time management and laziness are the greatest factors in my lack of time. Here’s what a typical week day looks like…

1 hour of prayer
30 minutes to shower/dress for work
1 hour spent waking my husband out of a deep sleep
1 hour of travel (round trip)
8 hours at work
1 hour of after work errands
1.5 hours cooking & cleaning
2.5 hours of reading/blogging/preparing shopping trips w/coupons
1 hour entertaining the animals
6.5 hours of sleep

I immediately recognized that there is not enough sleep going on and not enough time spent with my husband. There is nothing I can do about the commuting time, if I expect to keep my job, it’s just something I have to deal with. But there is room for improvement when it comes to after work errands and cooking/cleaning time. You may be thinking that I can cut out the “animal entertainment” hour, but in the grand scheme of things, they are like our children, and since they give us unconditional love, the least I can do is play a few games with them to keep them happy. There is always room for change, it all depends on what you consider a priority.

How do you manage your time? Feel free to share some of your tips!

April 12, 2013

End of week totals...

This week has proven to be very lucrative in accruing side income. I'm happy with this weeks results across the board. 

  • Plink 7110 points ($70 gift card)
  • Swagbucks 4370 points ($45 gift card)
  • Shopkicks 8964 points ($25 gift card)
  • Check points 1007 points ($3 gift card)
  • Inbox Dollars $25.19 (via check)
  • Panda $25.69 (via paypal)
  • Health Savings Account $150.00 ($10 weekly contribution)
  • My Coke Rewards 309 points
  • Perkstreet Cash back perks $7
  • Amazon ($50 gift card from Christmas & Rewards)
  • Emergency Savings Fund $1340.00
I've added a couple more side income programs that I have been working on. Everything increased far beyond what I had expected, however, the biggest change was with Plink. As summer approaches, I anticipate that these programs will only increase in providing more perks, I look forward to what's in store. 

New & Improved Ibotta (Part #2)

Have you signed up for Ibotta yet? If you have an Android Phone or iPhone you can sign up for Ibotta and get a FREE $2 bonus just for signing up!
So you are wondering what Ibotta is?Ibotta is an app that allows you to earn savings by watching videos, taking polls and various activties.  It is easy to use, because you do not have to show your phone or coupons at the register.  You are given the money as a rebate into your account.
What stores participate?The stores include 7-Eleven, BI-LO, CityMarket, CVS Pharmacy, Dillons, Dollar General, Dominicks, Duane Reade, Family Dollar, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Giant Eagle, H-E-B, Harris Teeter, Hy-Vee, Ingles Markets, King Soopers, Kroger, Meijer, Pathmark, Pavilions, Pick ‘N Save, Publix, QFC, Ralphs, Randalls, RiteAid, Safeway, ShopRite, Smith’s, Stop & Shop, Target, Tom Thumb, United States Armed Forces Commissary, Vons, Walgreens, Walmart, Wegmans, WinCo Foods, Winn-Dixie.
ibotta new
How do I get offers?Go to your app.  Choose Offers. Click on the offer you would like. You can choose the offer by click the offer you choose.
Ibotta Earnings
Just head over here to get started with Ibotta! You will get your $2.00 bonus when you redeem two offers in the first two weeks.
Thanks Swaggrabber!

52 week money saving challenge..

This Post May Contain Affiliate Links: Disclosure Policy
I learned about this challenge on Christian Finance.com, it was intriguing and a bit intimidating at first. I decided that in addition to my $1 a day savings commitment and my weekly savings commitment, that I would try this method since it would yield greater savings. The object is to transfer the amount of money for the numbered week of the year. 
I.E. January 1st-7th would be week one of 2013, so a transfer of $1 dollar would be your goal, and as the weeks progress, the sum would increase. By week 52, you would have saved $1378.00! That's a heck of a great savings. Like I said, it can be challenging, but by implementing a few "NO SPEND DAYS" per month and cutting back on eating out, this goal can certainly be achieved. Give it a try, you might be surprised by your hard work.

Random Joy!

Oh the joys of being a cat & taking many naps.

April 11, 2013

Free Bowling all Summer

Looking for a fun and frugal activity during the hot summer months? How about free bowlingSign up at KidsBowlFree.com to get a voucher for two free games of bowling for each of your children every single day all summer long. Check to see what nearby bowling alleys are participating here.
AMF Bowling Alleys also offer their Summer Unplugged program that also offers two free games of bowling for each of your children every single day all summer long. Fine print: This does not include the cost of shoes!

New & Improved Ibotta (Part #1)

Introducing the New Ibotta!

New Ways to Earn with Bonuses and Store Extras.

Go to the Main Menu in the Ibotta app to discover your Bonuses. As you complete Bonuses, you will unlock even more! Be on the lookout for hidden surprises.

Introducing the New Ibotta!

$2 Bonus for New Users

Every new user can earn an extra $2 for redeeming 2 offers within the first 2 weeks of registering. Now's a great time to join Ibotta!

Newbie Bonus

Friend Bonuses

Earn and unlock new Friend Bonuses as you sign up your friends. Every time you complete a Friend Bonus, you earn real cash and unlock another one.

Friend Bonus
Friend Bonus
Friend Bonus
Friend Bonus

New Store Extras

On top of the offers you already enjoy, you'll find new offers which can be redeemed in specific retailers only. Go to the Main Menu in the Ibotta app to discover your Store Extras.

Store Extras

More info to come tomorrow!

Perkstreet: The art of grocery shopping...

The Lost Art of Grocery Shopping

April 10, 2013

Go to savings tips!

Weatherproof your home to conserve electricity.

Start your laundry after 7pm (off peak rates).

Use a dry rack to dry clothes. It lengthens the life of your clothes & saves energy.

Skip the hot water, save money by washing your laundry in cold water.

Stop wasting power by unplugging your electronics when not in use.

Skip premium channels and switch to basic cable.

Rent movies from your library for FREE.

Ditch the land line if you have a cell phone. No need for two phone bills.

Set your thermostat lower in the winter & higher in the summer.

Use a programmable thermostat, so you never forget to adjust the temperature.

Use CFL lights instead of regular incandescent bulbs.

Shut off your water when you’re brushing your teeth, shampooing, or shaving.

Try simple repairs yourself, use free resources at Lowes & online to help you.

Carpooling isn't just for work anymore, run errands with family or friends.

Rotate your tires regularly to make them last longer.

Fill up your car when you’re down to a quarter tank.

Use smaller appliances (i.e. skillet, fry daddy) saves energy & beats the heat of the oven.

Try your hand at gardening & grow your own veggies.

Cut back on junk food. 

Use Angel Food Ministries to supplement your groceries.

Plan a weekly potluck night to use up leftovers. 

Make your own laundry detergent!

Swap hand-me-downs with family and friends, especially those with kids.

Fall in love with thrift & consignment stores.

Mend your clothes instead of trashing them (i.e. socks, buttons).

Make your own hand soap and body wash.

Wear clothing more than once between washes. Your clothes will last longer plus you'll save money by not running the washing machine as often.

Take your hunny for a walk in the park and enjoy a picnic.

Be the chef! Commit to only eating out once a month or not at all.

Make a weekly menu plan, so you don’t have a reason to eat out.

Pack your lunch for work.

Check out your local community calendar for free events (i.e. concerts and movies in the park during the summer).

Make your own home made baby wipes.

Cut your hubby's hair.

Shop the clearance racks! You can score some great birthday & Christmas gifts on the cheap! 

Ask your Doc to prescribe generic medicine. Many retailers offer generic scripts for only $4.

Kick the habit! There are endless health benefits to stop smoking, not to mention that you will save a bundle of money.

Raise your car insurance deductible.

Ask for other discounts, like safe driver and good student discounts.

Learn to haggle on everything!!!

Use cash/debit and skip the credit card. 

Do your own taxes, use programs like Tax Act, Turbo-Tax as these programs are very user friendly.

Avoid buyers remorse, ask yourself if you really need that item.

Start shopping for next Christmas now. Plan to be finished shopping by Thanksgiving so you can avoid higher prices and low quantities.

When shopping online, use Ebates. You earn a percentage back in the form of cash or a gift card.

Sign up for Swagbucks! You’ll earn virtual bucks that you can redeem for gift cards. Start now & you may be able to pay for all your Christmas presents this year with gift cards you earn from Swagbucks!

April 09, 2013

Save a $100

What could you do with an extra $100 a month? Perhaps make an extra credit card payment or take a mini vacation? Whatever your reasons are, here are 11 practical tips to help you save that Benjamin.

Clip coupons– You can find coupons on just about everything from books to movies, fast food/fine dining, and so much more. 

Eat at home- Cooking quick fix meals at home will help to quell the desire to eat out. You can easily make a sub sandwich at home, or homemade tacos.

Save on drinks- Skip Starbucks, make a pot of coffee at home and pack your thermos. A small cup of joe at your favorite cafe averages $4.75, multiply that by 5 working days, that could be an instant savings of $23.75 a week! 

DIY goes a long way- You can easily wash your own car, break out your lawn mower, dry clean from home. You have the ability to do these things on your own if you take the time to learn how. 

Combine shopping trips- Save money on gas when you run all your errands in one trip. You know your neighborhood best so map the quickest route to save on fuel.

Pack your lunch- There's nothing like a delicious home cooked meal, pack those left overs. The average cost of lunch at a fast food restaurant is $6.25, multiply that by 5 working days, that could be an instant savings of $37.25 a week!

Don't pay your bank!- Skip the ATM, fees are too high & quickly add up. Fees can be avoided by stopping by your bank to use the ATM or when you make a store purchase, request cash back when paying with a debit card. (Walmart, Walgreens offer this feature at no additional cost) Average monthly savings$20.00 in fees.

Stop wasting money- If you don't need unlimited web, text & apps then ditch those extras. Drop premium cable channels, & fire the paper boy, you can read the news online. Paying for stuff you're not really using is like flushing money down the toilet.

The library is your friend- It's not just for checking out books anymore! You can also rent movies and music from the library for free which saves you on rental fees & from buying books that you may only read once. Skipping Netflix & Blockbuster can save you $25.00 a month.

Buy usedEbay & Craigslist are awesome resources for buying gently used items. You can find DVDs, CDs, books, video games, clothes & so much more.

Buy off brand generic- It tastes just the same as name brand, but if you must buy the big labels then plan on using coupons to help cut costs.

These are easy and fail safe tips that I've used, I ended up saving much more than $100 and gained a whole new appreciation for thriftiness.

April 08, 2013

Most Fav App!

Coupon Sherpa - Save More at Every Store

Can I just tell you how much I love this App! At times, I don't want to carry around my bulky coupon pouch, so I downloaded this app a few months back and felt a huge wait lifted off me. This App offers a huge amount of stores (big box and mom and pop). Just select the merchant you're about to visit and pick from the coupons provided. At times there are multiple coupons, so be sure you select the best one for your needs. The coupons listed are all valid and they each show the expiration dates. Just show the cashier and they will scan the bar code on your smart phone or punch in the coupon code number. 

I've used this app for a bunch of different merchants, from Kohl's to Target to Denny's and more. This has been a huge lifesaver when I've forgotten to print a coupon at the last minute. Give this a try, you'll become a big fan.

Happy Saving!

Piling on the savings!

Coupon codes and where to find 'em
  • Retailmenot.com: This is my go to site for great coupon codes, anything from Free Shipping to a % off the total and more.
  • Couponcabin.com: This is another great site for coupon codes, it also shows you how effective the coupon is or if it is just a Dud.
  • Coupon Sherpa (App): This is my favorite App for coupons. When I do not feel like carrying around my coupon pouch, I carry this app for easy access to my favorite stores. All I have to do is open the app and find the store I need and select the coupon.

How to double or even triple your rewards aka The double dip
1.      Grab a coupon code from Retailmenot.com or CouponCabin.com
2.      Link to the merchant via Ebates.com to earn cash back
3.      Use a debit card that lets you earn cash back (i.e. Perkstreet.com) for your   online purchases.

The point is to maximize all of the savings you possibly can, the more you use these tips, the more you will see in savings. Don't sell yourself short, it takes just a few minutes to search for the codes, you won't be sorry.

2013 Goals Re-mix

Financial Goals

  • Save $2500 in the Emergency Savings Fund: On Track

We currently have 50% of our emergency fund full, all extra income from mystery shopping and overtime go directly into the pot.

  • Accrue $600 in gift card for Christmas: On Track

Between Plink, Shopkicks, Swagbucks, Inbox Dollar, Panda Research, Checkpoints etc. I hope to hit this goal by summer and continue letting it get bigger by November.

Personal Goals

  • Plan a staycation in Autumn: Pending

Florida has such a rich history and scenery, we’ve kicked around a few ideas from St. Augustine to Seaworld to the Keys. Lots of big ideas, but we have yet to narrow it down.

  • Volunteering: Starting soon

I love to help others, not just family and friends, but complete strangers. I do not want to wait til the holidays come to use my time and energy to help out. I’ve contacted a local ministry that allows volunteers to help out on scheduled days. I hope to get started before Summer arrives.

Family Goals

  • Date nights with the hubby: Back by popular demand!

We’ve put this off far too long, it’s time to get back to our romantic and fun dates. What good is being married if we can't have time to appreciate each other aside from running errands. 

  • Be more active at church: Starting soon

I’ve been asked to join the Greeters ministry on a number of occasions, I’ve declined each time because I’m not a very outgoing person and shy away whenever I meet someone new. This is definitely going to cause me to step out of my comfort zone, but in order for growth, God makes us stretch in these areas to make us more receptive to his desires for us.

Scored these cuties!

Total Charged:$15.00
Keen Santiago U-Gore

Keen Santiago U-Gore

  • SKU: #8086446
  • Color: Living Coral
  • size: 11
  • width: B - Medium
Apr 8, 2013 at 7:19 AM

I can not believe I just scored these cute coral shoes. I've been on the lookout for a casual pair of coral shoes and I found them today for just $15.00 with FREE SHIPPING! I'm so excited, I'm glad I waited instead of buying a different pair I found last week at DSW, they wanted $28.00. Woohoo! A little patience goes a long way.

April 05, 2013

My coke rewards

My Coke Rewards®

If you're an admitted Coca Cola soda fan, then make sure you're not missing out on great prizes and gift cards with mycokerewards.com

By entering in the codes found on the bottom of your bottle caps and 12 pack boxes etc, you can earn points for gift cards, magazines, cool gear and more. Each cap is worth 3 points and they add up quick, especially if you drink them often. Make sure you sign up and start racking up those points today!

End of week totals...

This week has been filled with some pretty great deals, a few freebies and and increase in side income. Here's how it turned out.

  • Plink 5,180 points ($50 gift card)
  • Swagbucks 4,216 points ($45 gift card)
  • Shopkicks 8,485 points ($35 gift card)
  • Inbox $24.45 paid via check
  • Panda $24.91 paid via paypal
  • Perkstreet Perks $6.00 (earn 1-25% cash back)
  • Health Savings Account $140.00 ($10 weekly contribution)
  • Amazon gift card $56.00 (Christmas gifts & rewards)
  • Emergency Fund $1278.43
There has been a great increase in Plink points and my Emergency Fund, aside from the dollar a day contribution, I was able to add a little bit extra.

April 01, 2013

New fav app!

I absolutely love reading Shop Smart magazine. I have learned so much about money saving apps, tips and cost savers from the publication, it's about the only thing I'm willing to pay full price for. 

I came across "Key Ring" app for Android and IOS. It stores all of your loyalty cards in one place. No more having to lug around a heavy key chain full of plastic mini cards. This app makes it simple to add your cards and easily access them at the store of your choice. Plus, it offers great coupons for the store you are visiting. 

Another benefit is that the weight of my key chain no longer threatens my ignition from snapping. It's simple and offers peace of mind knowing you don't have to dig through your purse or wallet to find your savings card. You'll find the convenience is worth the few minutes it takes to add all your cards! 

Motivation is key...

By definition, motivation is the act or instance of providing a reason to act in a certain way.

How do we stay motivated in a world full of chaos? These days everything is vying for our attention. It’s work, kids, spouse, errands, chores, friends, social media and more that zaps us of our energy and desire to stay focused. It’s so easy to get sidetracked with the demands of life, but we have to challenge ourselves to find ways to remain motivated.

Write it down: As for me, I’m a “list” type of person. The only way I can keep my ducks in a row is by writing my daily to do list. If it’s not written down, it’s not getting done. I won’t pretend to possess the skill of remembering all I’ve got to do. When I have things written down, I feel in control of the chaos.

It takes discipline: With anything in life, if you’re unprepared, you will fail. It takes true discipline to retain energy & focus. In other words, if I say I’m gonna do it, I have to do it. If I continue to procrastinate, I have no one to blame but myself if the work isn’t done and it will keep on piling up.

Set goals: No one said your goals have to be big. Small things like scheduling a bill to be paid online or getting the oil changed are great for building your confidence in knowing you have set things into motion to get completed. The point is to accomplish what you know you CAN accomplish.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s completing the tasks you set for yourself and feeling victorious. It’s knowing you have challenged yourself and met it head on. It’s steering life in a direction of organization and a commitment to keeping things in control.