Super SwagBucks Bonus

I haven’t written about Swagbucks in quite some time.  But, this is one that you’re probably gonna want to hear about.  Every once in a while, there’s a promotion that they put on that is well worth the effort, and this just happens to be one such promotion.

So what it is, you ask?

If you sign up through this link before April 5th, and then earn 1500 Swagbucks, you’ll be credited with 500 additional bonus Swagbucks.  If you’ve read any of my previous posts about Swagbucks, you’ll know that the reason I like it so much is that with a measly 500 or so Swagbucks, you can get a $5 gift card to Amazon.  Depending on how active I am, I get one every quarter or so.

Swagbucks 500 Bonus

Rules.  There’s always rules.

You’ve got to be a new user.  You’ve got to sign up through my referral link.  (I’ll get referral bucks for anyone that does that equal 10% of your Swagbucks earnings.  They’re not subtracted from yours, just bonused to me.  After you sign up, you can refer anyone you like and do the same!)  You’ve got to earn 1500 Swagbucks before April 19th.

Getting 1500 Swagbucks before April 19th is going to be a bit difficult, which is likely why they’re running the promotion the way they are.  However, it’s totally doable.  The only thing that won’t count towards your 1500 are any Swagcodes, but those are few and far between anyways. And, if you do it, you’ll have the original 1500, plus the bonus 500, and be able to cash them in for $20 in gift cards.  Well worth the effort.  Especially if you spend as much money on Amazon as I do. :)

You have until April 5th to sign up through this link.  The longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be to get those 1500 by April 19th, though, so just go do it. :)

Are Money Saving Blogs Making You Broke? Three Tips to Avoid It

Google “How to Save Money”, and you are going to be overwhelmed with all of the choices. There are thousands of blogs and websites out there that offer money-saving tips and deals. However, being a faithful follower to some of these sites has caused me to spend more money. How is that possible?

I know I am not the only one who has fallen victim to spending money after reading a money-saving blog. Many days, I start my computer time by looking at my budget and inputting any new expenses. I know the limits on each budget category. However, once I head over to some of my favorite money saving sites, I feel the compulsion to spend.

How can I pass up that coupon deal for Whole Foods on Groupon? Look those adorable scarves are only $4 each, I can buy my Christmas presents early. Or look there, a coupon for applesauce pouches to make them only .35 cents a pouch – let me run to Target ASAP to get them.

Don’t think that I am blaming these sites, of course! My favorite sites have also been very beneficial getting free items or great deals, as well. However, keep these three thoughts in mind before you browse your favorite money saving site:

Money Saving Blogs Making BrokeNot All Deals are Actually A Good Deal

When I saw an applesauce pouch deal, I printed out all of the coupons to go forward with the deal. Yes, I was getting the pouches at about 50% off their shelf price, but the truth was, I was still overpaying for applesauce. It didn’t help that my 20-month old would suck down 3-4 pouches in minutes. I could just see the dollars being sucked away in her adorable chubby cheeks. After all was said and done, I had spent about $20 on applesauce that lasted about three weeks. The truth was I could have made a whole crockpot full of applesauce* for less than $10, and it would have lasted me longer since it would have been more sauce. I would have even saved time since for the pouch deal; I spent time researching and finding all of the right coupons.

Ask yourself, is this deal worth it? Is it worth my time to drive to the store and clip coupons?

Do I Even Need This?

What good is it to save money on purchases if you are buying things that you don’t really need? The expense of clutter is much greater than you think. Once I purged my house, I really didn’t want to spend money on building more clutter. I had five sets of plates. Some sets were bought very inexpensively, but in the end, they just took up more cabinet space and made me feel like I would never get caught up with dishes.

Wait on deals for a few hours – a whole day if possible. Allow the initial excitement to die down. If you have to be impulsive about your decision, then it will most likely be an impulse buy that you didn’t need. Another great idea is to talk it over with your spouse or partner, since they may help you think logically before buying. Finally, it is easy to have a list of things you need to buy. This way, when a deal pops up, you can easily decide if you need the deal or not based on your list.

You Aren’t Saving Money if You Are Spending It

It always makes me laugh when I buy a few things from Kohls and they tell me I saved a ridiculous amount. For example, buying a sweater, toddler shoes, and a nice gift all on clearance and with coupons has made the receipt tell me that I saved over $200. That sounds good, but the truth is that I would have never spent over $200, especially for the items I bought.

If you are on a tight budget, then saving $25 on a $50 on a restaurant gift certificate or saving 75% off of processed groceries you wouldn’t have bought usually is not actually saving you money. It can be hard to be on a budget with little wiggle room, but if you adapt a “Just Say No” policy, you will benefit. Just say no to spending any money, even if it looks like a great deal, just say no to spending an hour printing out coupons and looking up deal match ups, and just say no to driving out of your way to a store for one deal. Just say no, and enjoy staying on budget.

Like I said, I don’t have anything against deal sites and money saving blogs. However, if you find your being compelled to spend instead of save after visiting these sites, it is wise to take a step back until you can learn some discipline. It has been a hard lesson for me to learn, but my wallet is much fuller!

Stretching Your Produce Budget Further

Anyone who has made a simple budget has struggled with making their food budget fit with the rest of the budget.  If you attempt to eat healthy, one of the biggest components to a food budget is the produce.  Stretching your produce budget can be somewhat difficult.  Growing seasons are short, and the cost of produce keeps going up.  But, there are a few things we can do to stretch that produce budget, and make it a bit easier on your overall budget.

  1. Stretching your produce budgetStock Up on Sale: buying your produce on sale allows for you to stock up when the item is cheaper, then store it until you need it.   Canned produce is really easy to store.  Frozen only requires a freezer.  And if it’s the fresh stuff, there’s a few things you can do to store a surplus when you do pick it up in season and on sale.
  2. Canning for stockpiling: When you’ve got a surplus of produce, one of the best things you can do is can it to preserve it for another day’s use.  Canning only requires a few pieces of equipment, and a little time learning the process, then you can be off to the races filling your pantry shelves with preserved fresh produce to use later in the year when produce is much more expensive.
  3. Freeze it: Every year, around the end of summer, corn pops up in the backs of pickup trucks and in the farmers markets.  Compared to the rest of the year, it’s really cheap, and it tastes so good!  Unless we want to eat nothing but fresh corn, though, the season is fleeting, and we’re left with no other corn but the commercially canned or frozen corn you can get at the supermarket.  It’s just not the same.  Last year, we bought a whole bunch of corn (4-5 dozen), shucked them all, then cut the kernels off and combined them in a huge stockpot with some butter, a little bit of salt, and a little bit of water, and then cooked it for a little while.  Once it was done, we let it cool off, and then filled quart size freezer bags with the corn and froze it.  Now, if we want a little taste of that sweet summer corn, we just grab a bag, heat it backup and eat.  We did similar things with pumpkin, squash, zucchini, and a whole bunch of other summer fruits and veggies.  All it takes is a little bit of prep time and the freezer room to enjoy the flavor of fresh produce all year round.
  4. Grow it: If you already grow a garden every year, this might seem like a no-brainer of a tip.  But, growing your own garden can be an excellent way to stretch your produce budget out.  Last year, we enjoyed an abundance of tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onions, jalepenos, cucumbers, and even an eggplant or two from our tiny container garden.  This year, we’re planning on consolidating down to a smaller selection in hopes that we’ll have some extras that we can can as well.
  5. Find a Farmer’s Market: Buying your produce from a local farmer can often be just as cheap as buying at the supermarket.  In some cases, if you order ahead, you can get a deal on bulk orders of produce which is great if you are planning on canning any of it.  It’s also fresher since it only had to make the trip from the farm down the road instead of the farm across the country.  It’s not always a great way to stretch the produce budget, but if you want high-quality produce that will last longer before spoiling, it’s a good place to check out.

Extending your produce budget is important, not just when there are droughts, but as a way to provide healthy options for you and your family to eat year round.

What do you do to stretch your produce budget?