1/23/2016

5 EASY Ways to Save Money for ALL Your Christmas Shopping...Even When You Don't Have Any Extra $$$

Don't get a Christmas bonus?  Don't have enough extra money to put away into a Christmas fund each month?  Don't want to load up those charge cards?  I want to share five QUICK and EASY ways you can earn money from home...small amounts at a time...that will add up QUICKLY.  If you don't "cash out" anything until November or December, you should have enough (depending on your spending limit) to pay for everyone's Christmas!  These are such easy things to do AND it's by doing things you already do or by spending a mere 3-5 minutes every couple of days to stash away into your Christmas fund.  Each of these are things I do personally, so I'm not giving you ideas that I "think" will work or ideas that "sound like" they'll work...these are PROVEN ways to stash away for Christmas.  It's so exciting to watch it add up and guess how much you'll have by November 1st or December 1st...I cannot WAIT to share these with you!

1.  Put ALL your spare change into a jar/container/etc.  Don't spend ANY!  Let's start with an easy one that you've probably all heard before...so this is a method that has been shared time and time again, but it's SO true!  If you will gather all change throughout the year and stash it in a jar where you won't "rob" it throughout the year, you will be amazed at what it adds up to by Christmas!  I don't even keep much cash on hand, but this still adds up for me throughout the year.  If you're robbing your container for vending machine money each week, well...this simply won't work...BUT ...if you're diligent in stashing and saving, you'll be surprised at the amount!  I even throw dollar bills in there if I find them in the laundry or if I have any extra cash...I just throw it into the jar.  You could make a coins only rule, but I sell heat pressed appliques for shirts and love to throw my extra cash in there...so if you have a little hobby business or if you sell clothes at a consignment sale, etc...throw in what you can and watch it add up.  When it's time to shop for Christmas, I throw mine into a Coin Star and let it do the work for me...it's worth the time it saves with me not having to count it.

2.  Use Cash Back and Rebate Sites ANYTIME you shop online!  There are a ton of these out there, but I'm going to share my favorites and how I make it work for me.  Basically, these are sites that give you cash back for shopping through THEM at stores you're already using.  They work different ways, but typically they have a pay out date and either send a check or pay through your PayPal account.  I get checks through the mail, cash them and throw them into my jar (#1 above).  Here are my favorites:  
Ebates
So this is one of my faves!  This is how I make it work for me.  When I'm ordering online, I shop as I normally would - at Kohl's, Amazon, Target, Walmart, etc...anywhere online...then...when I have everything added to my cart, I open up a NEW tab, go to Ebates and log in...search for whatever store I'm shopping with - "Kohls"...and click the button to "Shop Now for 3% cash back" or whatever the cashback for now might be.  If you're already shopping online, it's well worth your time to make that extra click and get cash back!  While it's only a dollar here or a dollar there, it will add up faster than you think.  My lifetime payouts on Ebates is several hundred dollars...I mean, why not get paid back for something you plan on purchasing anyway??  It doesn't matter if my purchase is $1 or $100...I ALWAYS go through one of my rebate sites.  I like to look through each of them if I have time, to see which has the highest rebate amount for my current store.  If you don't have time to do that, pick one that will be your "go to" since you usually have to have a minimum of $20 to cash out - and go to town!  You can go through Ebates for hotels, car rentals, flights...just about ANYTHING!
Shop at Home 
This is another great rebate site that basically works like Ebates.  It also has Shop Gold Points, so you earn those points (can be redeemed for gift cards) as well as cash back.  Ebates is my standby, but I've had several hundred dollars paid out from Shop at Home as well - just depends on your preference!
Top Cash Back
Another great rebate site that works much the same.  This is not my go to site...no reason, I just tend to go to Ebates first and Shop at Home second...but they claim to have the highest payouts, so it might be worth checking into... I've received about $50 from them, mainly because I don't use this site as much as the others.
Upromise
This ranks among one of my favorites as well, but it works a little differently.  Upromise helps you save for college so you can start a college fund with it or select the payout option.  I always select the payout option because I like to put it into an account of my choice - or you can use it for Christmas!  Upromise works without THINKING about it, so this is why the site is so great.  They do have rebates and coupons, so you can use Upromise much like the sites above, but you can also register your debit or credit card with them and earn anytime you use your card...so your rewards add up without you even knowing about it.  I just checked my Upromise account and I have $60 sitting there that I didn't even know about, so it's well worth registering those cards to watch your money add up throughout the year - especially if you're like me and your debit card or credit card is your go to source for everyday shopping.  If you decide to sign up with Upromise, feel free to message me first and I can send you their somewhat secret referral page that yes, adds money to my account, but allows you to sign up friends under your account as well.  You can also have grandparents and other family members register their cards on your account so their spending gives cash back for college for your kiddos...LOVE.IT.

3.  Couponing Apps  Free Couponing Apps can be downloaded to your phone and they offer cash back on various products...so for example, if you purchase Pillsbury Biscuits and they have a 50 cents coupon for Pillsbury Biscuits, they don't take this price off your total, but they add it to an account, much like the rebate sites listed above..then they pay out on a specific date or per your request.  Let me explain how I make these work for me with VERY little time and effort involved.  I don't have time to log into each app every time they add new coupons and select everything I "might" buy.  Instead, I log into my apps AFTER each grocery or drug store visit and select the items I actually purchased.  Usually you'll need to scan the products you purchased, can your receipt and the cash back is almost instant.  For example, I went shopping at Publix yesterday, bought some groceries, used some digital and paper coupons, came home, put up my groceries.  After my groceries were put away, I logged into my couponing apps, selected the items I purchased, scanned them, scanned my receipt while I still had it out...and I instantly received $7 cash back from all my apps combined.  I have four apps on my phone and I check each one after I shop.  That's about all I have time for...you can limit it to one, but each app is going to have different coupons, so it's well worth your time to install a few - however many works for you.  They often have deals like, "tomatoes" or "bell peppers"...so these coupons work on any brand, wherever you've shopped...so easy.  If you leave these savings in your couponing accounts until December, you'll have a good bit saved to put toward your shopping!  These are my favorites that you can download to your tablet or phone NOW for free.  You can also create your account online and download the app later:
SavingStar
Ibotta
(Ibotta is my fave...this one has the most generic coupons such as fruits, veggies, etc...that work with any kind you buy!)
Checkout 51
Snap by Groupon
(This one is last but definitely not least - it's AWESOME!  You don't have to do anything but log in and scan your receipt - it will automatically give you any rebates available and it has HIGH rebate payouts - love, love, love.)

4.  Short Product Surveys
Okay...I've never been a survey person...it's usually not worth my time, but I have four favorites I've discovered recently that ARE worth my time.  I have participated in several group studies with the incentive being $75-$300 for ONE study.  They send a check in the mail within a week after you've finished.  Some sites award points.  For example, 100 points = $1.  Each survey awards approximately 300 points, so $3 per survey.  Currently I've been participating in one just since January 1st, so less than a month, and I have $27 in my account.  If you'll be faithful to LEAVE IT IN YOUR ACCOUNT, you'll be amazed at how much you have to cash out by Christmas!!  EEEEE!!!!  So exciting!  Some websites allow you to sign up now and some, you'll have to wait until they're accepting applicants because so many want to sign up with them.  Here are my favorite, no scam, no spam sites to earn cash or points to convert to cash:
Pinecone Research
This is the one that I have been doing since the beginning of the month and currently have $27 for payout if I wanted...but I'm saving up for Christmas.  They only accept member sign ups on an as needed basis and even then, it's certain ages and groups they're looking for.  If you can get in, you'll be glad you did!  Once you're a member, they send surveys directly to your email, no spam.  You don't have to worry about checking in on their website.  Collin at Hip2save.com always posts when they're accepting new members, so you can check in with her site each day or each week to watch for updates...plus you'll find some great savings from her as well!  Here's a blurb from Pinecone's Website:   PineCone Research is a trusted leader in voicing the opinions of consumers nationwide. Companies are seeking your input to develop new and improved products. By completing our online surveys, your opinions will directly influence tomorrow's products today, AND you will be rewarded!  
Harris Poll
I have just registered for Harris Poll, so I can't tell you much from experience, but everyone I've spoken to who participates says it's well worth your time.  They're making a few changes to their website, so they're a bit slower than usual getting out surveys.  I haven't received my first survey via email yet, but I did receive 50 points just for registering.  They're always accepting applications, so you can sign up for this one now.  Yay!
Focus Group
This is a fun website where you can register for various product research - receive free products for studies, participate in person, participate online, etc.  You can register for studies on their website or wait for them to email you, but I find it best to browse their site to find the best opportunities.  I recently signed up for a study with a $300 payout - not too shabby!  If you're interested in this site, you can click the link and sign up directly OR you can send me a message with your email address and I can send you a referral link - FYI - signing up through referral links often get you better opportunities with this site because they see it as you working with a network to spread the word and they're all about networking!
20/20 Research
This one works much like Focus Group.  They usually send opportunities via email, you click a link to take a survey and they call if you fit what they're looking for.  They tell you during the phone call if you qualify or not and tell you exactly what will be expected so you know what you're getting into before you accept or decline.  I have been accepted for two studies in a month, one paying $75 and one paying $200 and I have gone six months without hearing from them...it just depends on what they have available.  They definitely don't harass you, only sending emails when an opportunity is available.  Receiving five emails a month from them would be A LOT for this site.  Much like Focus Group, you can click on the 20/20 link above to sign up OR you can email me your email address for a referral link - it helps us both!

5.  And finally, product reviews!
Did you know companies PAY for great product reviews??  I'm going to give you my favorite website for this, but look around...you might find one you like better.  The site I participate with awards points for writing reviews and then awards MORE points when companies purchase your reviews from them.  I try to log in several times a week and add 2-3 reviews.  It's fun to log in and see how many times your reviews have been purchased.  It's almost INSTANT.  IF you write a great review, someone will surely buy it within 24 hours...and other companies can purchase the SAME review, so you might sell it 10 times!  Once your review is written, the site basically works for you because the review you wrote ONCE can be purchased again and again.  Just a little work for a lot of points.  Save your points up until you're ready to shop for Christmas and you'll be amazed.  You can go to Google and search for "get paid to write product reviews" and it will pull up a LOT of sites for you to look through.  My favorite is Sticky Chicken.  Other than an email confirming my registration, I've never gotten an email from them, so they definitely don't spam.  I just log in a few times a week and review away.  Be sure to write great reviews...if you write - "Liked this product", buyers aren't very likely to purchase your review when there are others out there singing their praises.  Talk it up - state WHY you love the product and how you'll buy it again and again and again...then sit back and watch your points stack up.

A few of these sites have my affiliate links attached, but most do not.  I truly enjoy sharing ways to earn and save.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask!  If you have a favorite easy earning site, feel free to share!  Happy saving!

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