Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Points

My Points is a website that, like Swagbucks, helps you earn gift cards. I signed up for this about four months ago and I already earned a $10 Shell gift card and am halfway to earning another. There are lots of ways that you can earn points. The easiest is to click on the links in the emails they send you. About 70% of the emails they send have links that say "get 5 points just for clicking".  And it really is that easy; I click on the link and as soon as the new page loads I close it out. (Unless of course it is something that interests me). Other times, there is a requirement to get your points like sign up for a newsletter or purchase something. I don't do the ones with a purchase requirement but I do sign up for the newsletters. (After all I can always unsubscribe.)

As I mentioned above, some emails require purchasing something to get your points. Well, you can also shop through My Points to get more points. Just look up your store and click through their link. Depending on which store it is you will get different amounts of points for every dollar you spend. This is a quick way to really give your points a boost.

Another way to earn points is to complete the surveys they send you. What I like is that they will still give you 10 points even if you don't qualify. If you do qualify and complete the survey you will receive 50 points.

My most favorite way to earn points, however, is with coupons. You can print either or Smartsource coupons. For every coupon you print AND redeem from you will get 10 points. If you print and redeem any 10 coupons from either or smartsource you will get 25 bonus points. This is super easy for me to do every month. Whenever I need to print a coupon I log into My Points and click on the link in the right hand side (there is always a link or an ad for the printable coupons) and print away. It only takes about a week to get the points into my account.

There are a few other ways to get points but these four are probably the easiest and will also yield the most. So sign-up now with My Points and start saving up your points to get a gift card of your choice. They really do have a very large variety of different stores, gas stations, and restaurants.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Swagbucks is a great way for you to save or make a little money. What exactly is Swagbucks you ask? It is a search engine, like Google, but it gives you points (bucks) for doing online searches. My favorite prize to claim is the $5 Amazon gift card that I can redeem for 450 swagbucks. You can also get $5 deposited into your Pay Pal account for 700 swagbucks. I have been using Swagbucks for about a year and a half and I am hooked! I bought about 80% of my children's Christmas presents last year from Amazon for FREE using gift cards that I earned through Swagbucks! I also use these to get books or curriculum for our homeschool. This has helped tremendously with our school budget.

Now, don't expect to get swagbucks with every search you do. It is occasional and the amount of swagbucks also varies but it is something that adds up and there are plenty of earning opportunities as well. Just remember to always be signed in or you will not get any credited to your account.

1) Online searching. This one is obvious and probably the most common way to get swagbucks. I always do an online search for everything. Even websites that I frequent often. For example, instead of saving Amazon to my favorites and accessing it from there, I do an online search for it and sometimes I get swagbucks for it. So even if you already have a website saved to favorites you should still do an online search for it. This will better your chances of getting swagbucks. Fridays are also a good day to search because it is Mega Swagbucks Friday. On these days you have a better chance of winning high value swagbucks.

2) Daily Polls. This will give you one extra swagbuck every day. If you look under the QUICK LINKS tab on the left side of the homepage you will see a link for DAILY POLLS. Click on it and answer the question and click on submit. Very easy.

3) Special Offers. This is another way to get a swagbuck every day. Again, look under the QUICK LINKS  tab and click on SPECIAL OFFERS. Click on the link on the right side that says View Our No Obligation Special Offers. All you need to do is skip the offers and after about 7 offers you get a swagbuck. I do Special Offers and Daily Polls everyday to get more swagbucks.

4) Shopping. This is a good way to get swagbucks, especially if you are already going to purchase something online anyways. Just click on SHOP AND EARN on the left hand side of the homepage and find your store. Even iTunes is included which is really good for me ;) Make sure to click thru the link provided so that you will get your account credited the swgbucks that you earn. You get two swagbucks for every dollar you spend.

5) Trade In. This is a great way to earn swagbucks as well as get rid of junk. You can trade in old cell phones or old video games and consoles. I have used this in the past and, trust me, it is very easy to use. You can find the link for this on the left hand side of the homepage click on  TRADE-IN and then click on either cell phones or video games, depending on what your trading in.
For cell phones just look up your cell phone model, answer a few questions about it, then print out the postage paid label and receipt. I love that the shipping is free. It does usually take a couple weeks for them to receive, inspect, and credit you account, but I've never had a problem with them.
For video games it's basically the same thing, look up you game or console and answer a few questions. Different games have different values but at least you clean up your shelves and get a few swagbucks too. Since my kids have iPods now their Nintendos just sit collecting dust. So I have been sending in all their old games to get more swagbucks.

6) Swag Codes. Ocassionally, Swagbucks will put out swag codes. These can be found on their blog, toolbar, Twitter, Facebook, or newsletters that they send out. Everytime you find a code you enter it into the box on the right hand side of the homepage under where it says Enter your Swag Code then click on Gimme. Your swagbuck will be credited to your account.

I cannot say enough good things about Swagbucks . I use it everyday and absolutely LOVE it. If you'd like to sign up (and I don't see why not) click here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Electronic Coupons

Hopefully, by now, you have all your club cards and we're ready to discuss our third point in our Road to Savings.

Step 3: Electronic Coupons

I LOVE using electronic coupons. First off, you don't need to clip them or make room in your coupon orgainzer for them. Second, you don't need to worry about forgetting to use them, they come off when you scan your club card.

So, what are electronic coupons you ask? They are manufacturer coupons which you are able to load to your club cards from various websites. You will need to register with these sites and add your club card numbers so make sure you have them handy when you are signing up. Not all stores are participating in the use of e-coupons though, so make sure you check to see if your store does or not.

Once you sign up for your accounts and register your cards you are ready to start loading your e-coupons. Just check or click on the ones you want and that's it! Very simple to use. It may be helpful if you print out a list to know which ones you have loaded onto your cards to help you out when planning your shopping trips. When the time comes for you to check out and you are purchasing the items from the ecoupons just scan your club card as usual and your savings will automatically come off. Ecoupons are good for one use only though. They are taken off your club card after use.

One good thing about using ecoupons is that you can use both an ecoupon and a paper coupon on the same item.  For example let's say you are buying Betty Crocker fruit snacks that are on sale for $1.50 per box. You have a coupon for $0.50/1 box and an ecoupon for $0.50/1 box of fruit snacks. When you check out and scan your card your transaction will look like this:

Fruit Snacks = $1.50
- .50 ecoupon
- .50 manufacturer coupon
= $0.50 for the box of fruit snacks.

If you are in an area that doubles coupons (like Ralph's and Vons do) then your $0.50 MQ will double to $1.00 and you will pay nothing for the box of fruit snacks! They will be completely free!

Now here's the best part for all you Vons shoppers...when you have loaded multiples of the same coupon whether from different or the same websites ALL of them will come off. (Ralph's does not allow for multiples to come off only Vons.) I'm going to use the fruit snack example from above to explain. Let's say you were able to load a $0.50 ecoupon from Cellfire and a $0.50 ecoupon from Shortcuts onto your club card. Then your transaction would look like this:

Fruit Snacks = $1.50
- .50 Cellfire ecoupon
- .50 Shortcuts ecoupon
- $1.00 (.50 MQ doubled)
= -$0.50 overage!!

Now the store won't hand you any money so you need to make sure you have other items like a candy bar or something small to absorb the overage you are going to get. I have been able to get tons of overage because of this and have used it to pay for other groceries lowering my out-of-pocket expense.

Below are the different companies that offer ecoupons:

Cellfire :  Cellfire adds new coupons every two weeks. Each coupon is good for four weeks. This allows you to get multiple of the same coupon and get extra savings. Just fill out the form and you'll be able to start your savings. Don't worry about providing your cell phone number just make sure to uncheck the box for text messages. I have never received any unwanted messages or anything like that from them.

If your an iPhone user there is an app for this under the same name. Look up Cellfire and you should  find it. This makes loading coupons and knowing which ones you have loaded so much easier.

Shortcuts : Shortcuts adds new coupons every couple of weeks as well. Occasionally they will add one or two throughout the month so be sure to check back so you don't miss any good deals.

P&G eSaver : This is for P&G brand products only. Like Tide, Gillette, Pampers, etc. This is only available to Vons / Safeway affiliate stores.

Albertsons : Albertsons does not participate in Cellfire or Shortcuts ecoupons but they have their own on their website. Click on the link above, add your zip code, click on Personalized Savings, then input your club card number. These ecoupons are usually only good for a week but you can check again at the end of the week for more offers.

Ralph's : Ralph's does allow the use of Cellfire as well as Shortcuts ecoupons but you need to load P&G coupons as well as store coupons from their site. They do not allow multiples to come off. Click on the Sign in/Register link on the top right hand side under the word Welcome to register your club card.

Vons :  To be able to use your ecoupons form the Vons website first you need to register on here.  Afterward you can go back to the Vons website through the link above and click on "Load to Card" you will see a link that says "Sign up Today", click  on that and a small window will pop up where you will fill in your email and club card number for the password use the same one you used to register at Afterward you will be able to load both manufacturer coupons as well as store coupons onto your club card.

There are two apps for the iPhone for  First, there is the app this allows you to load ecoupons to your card or print them out as well. If you don't have a wireless printer you can just email the coupons to yourself and print from your home computer. Second, there is the Grocery IQ app. This one allows you to make shopping lists as well as load ecoupons to your card. Note: you cannot load the Vons store ecoupons to your card with these apps that is only available on the Vons website

Tonights homework:  Sign up and register your cards with all these sites and load all your ecoupons.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Savings Cards

We're continuing our Road to Savings with our second stop.

Step 2 in saving money:

Sign Up For Club Cards

You should always sign up for your store's savings cards. Whether it is Vons, Ralph's, Albertsons, CVS, or wherever; if your store offers a club card, sign up for it! This step is crucial to saving money. Aside from getting special discounted prices you can also load electronic coupons to most club cards which you can use in conjunction with paper coupons to get extra savings! You can easily request a card at your store either at customer service or during checkout. Or you can sign up online at the store's website. The only problem with this is that you need to wait for the card to get sent in the mail which can take up to 3 weeks whereas requesting one in-store allows you to start saving right away.

Here are the online links to request club cards:

Vons - fill out and print application and take to the store

Albertsons - Request Online

CVS - Request Online

Ralph's - you need to request in-store.

Homework assignment: Request club cards or print applications to take with you the next time you go to the store.

Up next in our Road to Savings: Electronic Coupons!

Road to Savings

I don't exactly consider myself an expert in this field. I still have plenty to learn but I do know quite a bit about couponing and I will try to explain as best as I can how to begin saving money and using coupons. This is the first of several future posts in my Road to Savings series.

Step 1 to start your savings:

Make a menu.

This may not seem like a big deal, but it really is. I plan my menu out monthly but you can certainly do it on a weekly basis as well.
Start by looking in your pantry and freezer to know what you have on hand. Plan your meals based on this information and whatever you need but don't have add it to your shopping list. This allows me to look in the weekly sales flyers for the best deals on the items I use most or will need for future meals. This also saves me money because I don't have to make pit stops at the grocery store to get any items I ran out of. Remember, the more often you go to the store the more likely you are to make impulse purchases. Not to mention you are wasting time and gas just to go there.
Even though I plan my menu I am still very flexible. Just because I planned spaghetti for dinner on Friday and Quesadillas for dinner on Tuesday doesn't mean I won't switch and make spaghetti on Tuesday and Quesadillas on Friday depending on what's easier or what I'm in the mood for. Since I already knew and purchased ahead of time the items I needed, I will have everything I need to make either meal. A menu is a very useful guide to help ease up the problem of deciding what to make for dinner every night.

So, tonight's homework: make a menu. Whether it's a weekly or monthly menu is up to you. Find out which works best for you.