How We Earned 83 Swagbucks Today (plus some quick tips!)

How We Earned 83 Swagbucks Today

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the Swagbucks tips. Keep them coming! You all are a wealth of secrets and insider tips!

We earned 83 Swagbucks so far today. We’re slowly getting closer and closer to our 100 Swagbucks per day goal! Here’s the breakdown of what we earned:

How We Earned 83 Swagbucks TodayHow We Earned 83 Swagbucks TodayI’ve been paying attention to the quick and easy offers on the homepage, trying to play videos on my phone and computer while I’m working online, always doing the NOSO, Daily Poll, using the Toolbar, and adding in Swagcodes when the toolbar alerts me that they are available.

The kids are so excited that we are getting closer and closer to their first $5 Amazon gift card. :)

Two quick Swagbucks tips:

1) Always check your Swagbucks inbox. I’m noticing that every day, there is usually one offer in there for a quick 2 Swagbucks.

2) Take a few minutes to check out the Book Excerpts. These are located under the Discover tab. There are 6 book excerpts there right now. Click on the book cover, click on Book Excerpt, and you’ll earn 5 Swagbucks per book! That’s an easy 30 Swagbucks! {Thanks to a few readers for tipping me off to this and giving me step-by-step help to figure out how this works! They’ve told me this section usually updates twice a month.}

How many Swagbucks did YOU earn today? What are your favorite ways to earn Swagbucks?

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Why You Should Stop Saying “I Can’t Afford That”

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I loved this post from Andrea Dekker and thought it was so thought-provoking:

About 2 months ago, I shared a post about one of my pet peeves — when people complain about “not having enough time” for various activities.

The point of that post (which you can read in its entirety here) is that I almost never say “I don’t HAVE time for ______” because I know that if I really wanted or needed to, I could MAKE the time for that activity.

Instead I say, “I’m choosing not to MAKE the time for ___________ right now as I have other priorities.”

By simply changing the way I phrase things, I feel much more empowered, more in control of my time, and less defeated by everything I don’t get done each day. I know that I made the choice to do something else — whether it was tending to a sick child or taking advantage of really nice weather instead of doing my work or opting to make a big fancy meal instead of enjoying more free time — it was my choice.

Similarly, I almost never say, “We can’t afford that.”

This is not because we are “loaded” or have unlimited financial resources. It’s simply because I know that in almost every situation…”

Read the full post here.

Personally, I think that while there are legitimate things we cannot afford and in the early years of our marriage, there were many things we didn’t have room for in our budget, we’ve found that saying “We’re choosing to spend our money differently” helps us to remember that these are choices we are making based upon priorities we’ve pre-determined. And this causes you to approach your finances with a completely different mindset.

In addition, I agree with Andrea that it makes you feel empowered. Your money is not in control of you; you are in control of your money. You are choosing how to spend it. Even if you only have a little bit of money to spend, you still can choose to spend that little bit as wisely as possible.

Do you agree with this article? Why or why not?

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How I Saved Today: Simple ways we earned over 40 Swagbucks today!

We save quite a bit of money at our house by finding creative ways to earn gift cards.

My kids are saving up money for Christmas presents and one way they are doing so is by helping me earn Swagbucks. I’ve promised them they could have part of the earnings from gift cards if they help out.

Our Swagbucks earnings today

I’ve been making more of an effort to have Swagbucks TV running while I’m working. It’s amazing how the Swagbucks add up by doing so!

And then I’ve been taking 5-10 minutes to answer the daily poll, do a few activities on their site, and input the codes that they release 1-2 times most days (if you download the toolbar, it will alert you when there’s a new code).

How we earned 40 Swagbucks today!

My kids love to play games on my phone and they each get a short time to do so every day. I showed them some of the games on Swagbucks and they’ve been playing those instead of their usual games.

All totaled today, with very little effort on my part, we earned over 40 Swagbucks and counting.

My goal is for us to be earning close to 100 Swagbucks every day. We’re slowly getting better and better at getting closer to that goal. At that rate, we can earn around $30 in gift cards every month. Not bad for very little time investment and my kids are having fun in the process! :)

And now I’m going to teach them how to use SuperPoints and Bing Rewards. :)

So that’s one way we saved today. How did YOU save?

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How I Saved Today: Goodwill 50% off sale + my favorite way to eat oatmeal

Goodwill 50% off

My neighbor had told me the week we moved here that all Nashville-area Goodwill stores run a 50% off everything in the store the first Saturday of every month. I’ve been meaning to check it out every single month since we moved, but it finally worked out for it to happen today.

Silas had an early soccer game and Kaitlynn had ice skating at the same time, so I took Silas to his game and Jesse took Kaitlynn and Kathrynne to ice-skating. After soccer, Silas & I went over to Goodwill (it was right on our way home!) to check it out.

The store was quite crowded — and I could see why! The prices after the 50% off sale made most items less than $3, with many as low as $0.99! For the most part, almost the entire store was at garage sale prices or better.

The only downside? There was a LONG line at checkout. Even though they had multiple registers open, I guessed that you’d probably have to stand in line for at 30 minutes just to make it to checkout. So I decided that there wasn’t anything I needed enough to stand in that long of a line today. But it was fun to check it out and I hope to go back some other first Saturday of the month when I have more time and am prepared to stand in a long line! :)

How I Love to Eat My Oatmeal

One way we save a lot of money is by eating oatmeal. We typically eat it at least 3-4 per week. Usually for breakfast, but sometimes for lunch or a snack.

Today I had oatmeal for lunch. I cooked it my favorite way — just a little crispy on the stovetop and then added a heaping teaspoon of coconut oil and a half teaspoon of vanilla. It’s plain and simple, but it’s filling, nutritious, and inexpensive. Plus, it’s a quick and easy meal or snack to make!

How did YOU save today? I’d love to hear!

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Why We More Than Doubled Our Grocery Budget

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It’s taken me weeks to work up the courage to write this post. But I finally decided the day had come… and I’m going to press publish on this, even if it means that some people don’t understand or are disappointed with me.

You see, for years, our family has been known by the fact that we have a really, really low grocery budget. In fact, this site started as an outgrowth of people’s interest in how we’ve kept our grocery budget so, so low.

The Lean Law School Years

I will never forget our lean law school years when we didn’t have more than $17 to $30 per week to spend on groceries, when we had to just drum up the best meals we could with what was on a great sale and what I could get for pennies with coupons, when we had many meatless meals because we couldn’t afford to purchase more than a pound or two of meat each week, when we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every single day for lunch for weeks and weeks on end.

It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t easy. But it was worth it.

Those short-term sacrifices eventually paid off into many long-term benefits. One of which was putting us in a position where we had the wiggle room to raise our grocery budget.

After my husband finished law school and our income had significantly increased, we toyed a lot with raising our grocery budget. And we did raise it a little — first to $40 per week and then, a little while later, up to $50 per week.

I Just Couldn’t Bring Myself to Spend More Than $50

I just couldn’t bring myself to spend more than $50 per week for groceries, though. {Note: The $50/week number was a little ambiguous because we do get free samples, review products, and high-value coupons from companies on a fairly regular basis because I’m a blogger. It was also a bit skewed because we buy some of our groceries with Amazon credit from Swagbucks. But for the past few years, we only spent $50 cash at the grocery store each week.}

After we moved to TN and we made the transition to Jesse being home full-time, I began noticing that $50 per week just didn’t seem to be cutting it. Not only has our family significantly changed our eating habits, but Jesse is no longer eating out each day for lunch. Plus, he is doing intense workouts three time per week and our kids are growing and have sports activities multiple times each week. Needless to say, we just seem to be going through a lot more food.

As Jesse has become a lot more interested in health and fitness, he’s also been doing a lot more of the cooking and he’s been loving trying out new and healthful recipes. He started wanting to spend more at the grocery store to purchase ingredients for different recipes he wanted to try.

Why We More Than Doubled Our Grocery Budget

Why I Was So Stubborn

In all honesty, I really didn’t want to raise our grocery budget any more. Why? Well, mostly because I felt like I owed it to you all for us to keep our grocery budget really, really low. I felt like I was being a fraud if I have a site called “MoneySavingMom.com” but didn’t also have some insanely low grocery budget.

So I kept saying “No, let’s just try to make $50 work.” I tried to get more creative. I tried to really look for bulk deals and local sales. I tried to think of new ways to stretch that money further.

It wasn’t working, but I kept being stubborn about it for a few more weeks. I didn’t want to let you all down. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. And, to be perfectly honest, I know there was a part of me that prided myself in the low, low grocery budget we’ve kept for so long.

But I finally realized how silly I was being. In the name of not letting my readers down, I was making life difficult for my husband and kids.

Family Comes First — Or Do They?

I’ve always said that my family comes first. That all blogging decisions will be made first and foremost on what is best for my family. That I won’t let the blog trump my family.

Clearly, I was forgetting this mantra. And I finally woke up and realized I just needed to let go of my arrogance and stubbornness, admit that it was time for a change, and be free from guilt over it.

While this was happening with me, Jesse had been researching different meal plans online and he came across a site called MealFit that offers meal planning specifically for people who want to eat healthfully and live a fit lifestyle. I was really reluctant to pay for this service. It seemed extravagant, costly, and nothing that was in line with my usually frugal ways.

Handing Over the Grocery Budget

At the same time, though, I could tell that Jesse really, really loved the idea. So I did something very uncharacteristic: I handed the grocery budget over to my husband and told him he could decide on what amount seemed best.

We paid for a short-term subscription to MealFit and shopped almost entirely according to their weekly grocery lists. I thought that eating according to the MealFit menu plan was going to massively increase our grocery budget, but I knew that we’d recently trimmed our budget in some other areas by at least $90, so I was willing to try it out and just see what would happen if we shopped and cooked according to the MealFit plan.

It was really hard for me for the first few weeks, but I could tell that Jesse was loving it and I enjoyed almost every single one of the MealFit recipes. They are packed with flavor and nutrition and there have only been a few duds or ones that we didn’t love.

Why We More Than Doubled Our Grocery Bill

Yes, We More Than Doubled Our Grocery Budget

After about 4 weeks of experimenting, we realized that, yes, shopping and cooking according to the MealFit menu plan did increase our budget — but not to a crazy high number like I was expecting. We’re averaging around $130 per week now for groceries for the five of us, including the cost of the MealFit subscription.

This is more than double what we were budgeting before, but it’s nowhere near the $250 or so that I’d initially pictured it might be. More importantly, my family is eating healthfully and my husband is much happier. He’s made many, many hard sacrifices over the years to allow us to stay out of debt and save aggressively and I’m so happy that he can now reap some of the fruit of that sacrifice.

So there you have it: the completely honest truth on why we raised our grocery budget. I have a feeling some readers will be disappointed and upset with me. And that’s the hardest part about me writing and putting this kind of post out there. I don’t want to disappoint people, but I also want to be authentic.

No matter what you think of me after reading this post, I hope you know how much I appreciate you being on this journey with me. My heart hurts for you if you’re in a season where you don’t have any wiggle room in your budget. Please don’t give up! I truly believe that someday soon, those short-term sacrifices will pay off in big ways.

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