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Okay…so today I promoted Ebates on my Facebook and a few people got interested….so here is my favorite list of “lazy earners” – sites/apps/extensions I use to earn points that can be turned into paypal money or giftcards…usually of the Amazon persuasion.

1. Swagbucks.com
So with SB…you get what you give for the most part – you do stuff to earn their virtual points referred to as “swagbucks” and then exchange them for various rewards – usually e-giftcards to awesome places like Amazon, Starbucks, Target, Walmart, etc.  They have a Shop & Earn section where you can earn for shopping at places like Groupon, Living Social, rotation Amazon categories, and MANY other physical and internet stores.  The rest of the website is basically getting a few bucks to watch ads or try new products (sometimes for free, but usually for trial and whatnot)

Average Earnings: $25- $40 per month in Amazon and Starbucks giftcards.  
I use the Shop & Earn for daily purchases and run the mobile apps whenever I have free wifi.  When I’m lazing around at home I’ll run the SBTV in the background or do surveys…though it is easy to spend 30 minutes just disqualifying for surveys.  I also try to use their search function as often as possible (It’s yahoo and kind of sucks…but I’ve just started searching google.com and have received swagbucks for it!)

Click here to sign up for Swagbucks and get swaggin’

2. Recyclebank.com
You sign up and slap a sticker on your recycling bin (or don’t.  It’s whatever since I’ve been earning well after that poor bin was stolen) and earn points that can be used for coupons to local establishments, e-giftcards, magazine subscriptions, etc.  You can also earn points by doing the activities on their website that often give you great energy-saving tips.

Average Earnings: $15 and a magazine subscription per year.  
Not a huge payout – but I’m dragging the recycling to the curb once a week and this is giving me something for that!

Click here to sign up for Recyclebank and earn for helping the earth and stuff

3. EBates.com
They will send you paypal money, giftcards, or even a check in the mail just for shopping at websites you usually do – Groupon, Amazon, etc.!  You just have to check their website or download the browser extension and it will do the rest!

I Don’t Have Average Earnings Yet
I just started using this in 2015 though I have friends that say they have earned $200-$300 over the years in “cash back”

Click here to sign up for EBates.com


 

Today I bought a Groupon and used both EBates AND Swagbucks so I got about $5.20 back from a $40 Groupon purchase!  May not seem like much…but it all adds up.

Day 9 Starbucks Free

I’ve saved myself at LEAST $28.71 in Starbucks since Christmas!  I spent $90 on Starbucks in January last year and I am determined to cut that down!  Making my own coffee is helping tremendously.

So I didn’t have any plans to make fitness/weight loss a goal for 2015…until I tried to put on my stretchy jeans earlier and felt like a giant muffin.  So I made an executive decision use my holiday AmEx giftcards to purchase a 15-punch card for fitness classes at a local gym.  I use Swagbucks AND EBates so I only spent about $34 which s less than $3 per class…and anything under $15 per fitness class is a deal these days.  I need zumba to get back into business!   I consider this a win since I didn’t pay for it and will get cash back.

It’s Saturday night and I am crashed out on my couch with my dog, a crochet project, and Swagbucks.  I think I’m about to watch the LEGO Movie and soak up cable while I still have it.  I tried to call Comcast today to downgrade, but didn’t get through before heading to work so I shall try again tomorrow!  I’m currently paying $104/month and I am confident I can get that down under $100.

150103-181533

So here’s a pic of me being cool on a Saturday night crocheting at home with my dog.  I’m not out spending money!!!

Okay so I mentioned that I had some goals for 2015 and I need to find ways to cut on spending to accomplish all of them

ON THE GOAL FRONT:
I haven’t been to Starbucks in a few days!  I have purchased 3 bags of coffee and armed myself to the teeth with milk, creamer, and sugar.  I also have about $35 in free Starbucks giftcards that I want to last me awhile.   I would say I spent about $100/month at the bucks (this includes my money and giftcard money) and I am confident I can cut that more than in half.  Bring my own stuff.  Bring backup jars.

Non-Consumer Advocate’s No Spend January
So i am joining in the No Spend January on NCA’s Facebook page.  I have 2 weddings and a convention this month.  So I have modified this to only be no-spend for all but those 3 weekends.  That gives me 8 days of buffer that I feel I need.  Otherwise, I can do this!  I just spend $58 at the grocery store and am prepared to make my own meals for the next month.  I even have a crockpot ready to go for tomorrow morning of mexican chicken thighs!

2015-01-01 19.50.20

I LEARNED A NEW HOBBY
For $5.33 I have learned how to crochet!  I’m making a scarf and it’s coming along really well.  This goes under the “value my time” goal of 2015 since it’s something I’ve wanted to learn for a long time and it’s a great hobby that I can do anytime i’m sitting and I’m into that.

2014-12-31 09.40.10

2015 Goals

So it’s that time of year to do new year’s resolutions….I prefer to call them goals.  Goals aren’t broken so easily.  Goals started well before the ball drops.  Goals are achievable.

Goal 1: Value My Time
This has many levels to achieve.  I’m a workaholic with a dog and precious little time to myself that cannot be wasted on toxic people or things.  I’m going to put myself a little more before my work this year and refuse to work ridiculous hours/days/stretches and I won’t take jobs when I already know I’m completely run down and need a week to chill.  I won’t take sidegigs that are terrible or below my worth.  I have a number that I make per hour and if one person will pay it, others can too – so I won’t be working for less than that now.

I have also realized that this also means who I spend my time with.  This year was rather eye-opening in just how toxic some of my relationships are and why the fuck am I staying in them when they are not great friends?  I have plenty of great friends that I don’t get to see and I want to focus on them more in 2015.

Goal 2: Kick the Starbucks Habit
Okay so maybe preparing for this goal by hoarding up Starbucks giftcards is not the smartest…but there is a Starbucks 10 steps away from my work.  It’s my cigarette equivalent and they make it so much better than I do.  I spent $950 at Starbucks this year according to my bank account – and that doesn’t include the giftcards I get through various points-earning site.  It’s a terrible addiction and it’s blowing all my money that is needed for other goals.

So I have a coffeemaker and just need to make sure to have a constant stream of coffee and milk/sugar here.  I’ve already taken my Starbucks app out of auto-reload mode.  I’ve been using Swagbucks to hoard up Starbucks giftcards because I know that I will not be able to just stop going conveniently across the street every once in awhile…but I will not pay for them with people money.

Goal 3: At Least Double My Monthly Student Loan Payments
As anyone reading this (that most likely know me) will know…I am in a stupid amount of student loan debt.  It’s steadily creeping towards six figures with every bout of interest and it makes my butthole pucker on the regular.

Currently, I pay $250 per month as the minimum for all 4 loans.  I am going to pay an additional $250 per month towards my smallest loan and will do everything in my power to have at least one paid off by the end of this year.  The smallest loan is $5,000 and this definitely monthly match will get rid of $3,000 of that.  I’m confident I can find a way to get the additional $2,000 paid off as well and if I can do this…..

Goal 4: Pay My IRA
I haven’t been able to put anything in my IRA for the past 2 years…and actually had to dip into it this year to handle some vet bills and a credit card balance.  This year, I have no excuses.

I am still unsure if it is better for me to pump into the student loans or my IRA…..but either way, that money isn’t going to fucking Starbucks.  THAT is for sure.

So those are my 4 Goals for 2015.  They’re pretty legit in my eyes but I’m always looking for feedback, comments, questions, words of encouragement…….anything.

So due to my dog puking bloody stuff….I am once again in the negative.  I did get some of the money back!  And I did work a lot more this month!  I also have mice, so I had to buy dog-friendly mouse-repellents that are…barely working.  if at all.

Christmas is a-brewin’ and I have yet to get home to get cardmaking things.  I have a few people handled and I have some ideas for pleasant things!

Mid-Month Report

I’ve started getting up around 6-6:30 in the morning and it’s doing wonders.  I have plenty of time to wake up, pay attention to Wally, pick an outfit…and watch Good Day Philadelphia while drinking my coffee.  I don’t feel so rushed and then I seem to do better at work.  Go figure!

Yesterday, I cooked three different meals for the week so I don’t get totally fucking bored and eat out (an issue that I have noticed)

Saturday, I had to work a 12-hour day (well one hour to get home to feed/walk Wally) which sucked…but the people running the event I stayed late for gave me a whole case of Flying Fish.  And I got a Ron Swanson painting (okay yes…i spent money on this…but it was for a charity and it’s awesome.  my birthday is coming up and I can count that!)

I have still spent money on Starbies being lazy about bringing coffee to work with me for that mid-day slump.  I have a mason jar of it in my lunchbag already.  Because I have plenty of time to make breakfast and lunch now.

Doing Better in Week 2

Aside from a necessary trip to the laundromat (already loaded on the cash card for that place) I have done pretty good about not spending this week!  I made oatmeal cookies, bacon mac n cheese, and a shitload of coffee on Sunday so I have been set.  I’ve been way too busy between a massive mailing at work and sidegigs to even think of spending money.

I’m trying to give myself more time at home this week instead of working back-to-back 12 hour days and I think I really need to be better about giving myself more time.  I took most of the weekend to myself and did work from home and watch TV on the floor with my dog for a few hours and it was necessary.  I work too much.  More importantly – I work too much to be this poor.

Day 4 – Opportunities….

…to stuff your face for free.

Today I went to a fantastic networking/professional growth event today that work paid me to go to.  Life bonus?  Breakfast/Lunch were free….and taking the leftovers was encouraged!  I snagged a chocolate muffin, slice of cake, and applej juice for later.

Pet Insurance
I can’t stress how smart I think it is to get pet insurance on your pets.  I was raging over the $700 bill yesterday and today I calmed the fuck down and made sure the vet filed an insurance claim for me.  So I’ll hopefully get at least half back…which is better than just being totally fucked.

Thinking about all of this reaffirms the whole “hey seriously don’t spend money this month” thing.

Well I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m on a spend fast…as my dog required $700 in vet bills this morning.  He hasn’t been eating so much for the last week and yesterday he completely stopped eating and was lethargic.  Today, he puked up yellow stuff with blood flecks in it.

X-Rays, bloodwork, and an ER visit later….I don’t know what’s wrong with my dog and all of my financial plans were suddenly fucked.  This month is now not about saving money for anything extravagant like replenishing my sad emergency fund or pumping more into my student loans…but will now be about saving and making enough to cover this hit.

He’s pretty lucky that I love him so goddamn much.  But man…it’s too early in the month.

No Spend November – Day 2

So Day 1 was actually full of grocery shopping and driving to Maryland….yes, not very NO SPENDY but I couldn’t do everything last week because I worked over 50 hours and spent all additional time sleeping and with the dog.  The good news was I was paid completely in cash last week so I was able to buy my month’s groceries and topped off my tank with cash and I have an additional $50 in cash to replenish fruits and veggies mid-month.

I spent $52 for groceries that included ingredients and beer for a birthday dinner for my best friend last night.  I had enough ingredients that tomorrow night I can make a bigass batch of pork fried rice.  I also have to divvy up and freeze the chicken thoughts I bought for crockpotting.

I find that the best way for me to not spend money…is to make money.  This week I have set up to work Tuesday-Friday evenings for sidejobs.  On the weekend I’m volunteering at the Art Star Craft Bazaar where I’ll earn gift certificates for 3-hour shifts (currently scheduled for 2 but may work more depending on how I feel)\

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