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Category: Earning & Managing Money

10 Tips for Having a Successful Garage Sale

Planning to have a garage sale soon? I’ve had a number of successful garage sales over the years and these are my top 10 garage sale tips!

{Looking for other creative ways to make some extra cash? Check out our big list of income-earning ideas and our favorite legitimate paid online surveys!}

top 10 garage sale tips

Since I’m a minimalist at heart, I’ve always loved to declutter, go through old stuff, and purge what we no longer need.

Back in our law school days, I frequently had garage sales to earn a little bit of extra cash — because every little bit helped stretch our really tight budget during those financially lean years!

Since I’ve had SO many garage sales over the years, I’ve learned a lot about how to have a successful garage sale.

If you’ve been thinking about have a garage sale soon, here are my top 10 garage sale tips!

1. Collect clutter year-round.

Always have an ongoing Garage Sale stash you’re adding to.

Try to regularly declutter and purge what you don’t need. When you come across something you no longer need or use, stick it in a box! Once that box fills up, start another box! And another.

Without much effort at all, by the time your garage sale comes along, you’ll have multiple boxes of stuff you can sell!

I used to do this throughout the year and then have an annual garage sale each year. It made things super easy, because I already had everything in one place to sell. I didn’t have to spend days going through items and figuring out what to sell.

2. Have a plan.

A successful garage sale does not happen without organization.

At least a week before your garage sale, I recommend going through your home top to bottom and clearing out any last-minute clutter that’s not already in the garage sale boxes. At least 2-3 days before the sale, set aside an afternoon to price everything out and organize your items. And then the day before the sale, devote a few hours to final organization — advertising on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, getting some cash together for change, making signs, etc.

Do not wait until the last minute to pull off a garage sale. Either it will flop or you’ll run yourself ragged — or both. If you’re in a new location or you’re new to hosting a garage sale, I’d suggest that you start getting organized at least 3-4 weeks in advance.

planning notebook

Getting organized for a successful garage sale:

:: How are you going to display items? Do you need to borrow or make a clothes-rack?

:: Do you have enough table space? If not, check and see if you can borrow tables from friends or put together some makeshift tables out of plywood and boxes.

:: What signs will you be using and how many do you need? Where will you be displaying the signs to best direct traffic to your home? Drive the routes people will be using to find your home and decide on locations for your signs ahead of time.

:: Who is going to put the signs out the morning of the sale? Designate someone for this ahead of time and let them know specifically where to place the signs.

:: How much cash should you have on hand and how will you keep it in a safe location?

:: Do you need to purchase a license for running a garage sale in your area?

:: Do you have enough help?

3. Team up.

One of my top garage sale tips is that you should never do them alone! Find friends or family to team up with.

Not only does this arrangement mean you have a larger quantity and variety of items to sell, but it also means you have more help. Divvying up the responsibilities between 3 or 4 people makes a garage sale much more manageable.

Plus, it just makes it more fun when you’re doing it with friends and family!

4. Location, location, location!

If you want to have a garage sale that flops, pick a location that is off-the-beaten-path and hard to get to. That’s a surefire way to lose a lot of business.

Don’t live near a busy intersection? Look for alternative locations like the home of a friend or relative.

We always had really successful garage sales at our home in Kansas, because we lived right between two very heavily-trafficked streets. We put up some good signage and the crowds came!

5. Timing is everything (well, just about!).

I don’t advise planning a sale in the freezing cold Winter or the blazing hot Summer. Choose a time of the year when the weather will be very pleasant and try to check the weather forecast ahead of time to make sure rain is not expected when you’re planning your sale.

In addition, find out what days of the week are best for yard sales to run in your area. Fridays and Saturdays are usually really popular, but you’d be surprised to find that in some areas Thursdays are big days for garage sales!

circular peel and stick price tags

6. Clearly mark your prices.

It’s easy to want to just stick a big sign on a table saying that everything on that table is a quarter, but in the long-run it is much more efficient to go ahead and put price stickers on everything. Instead of having to make up prices on the spot, people will know exactly how much something is. In addition, some people are too shy to ask the price of an item, so you’ll lose a sale if an item isn’t marked.

I’ve found it’s worth paying the few dollars it costs to buy pre-priced stickers for most items. It makes things SO simple and fast!

I also recommend having a variety in pricing — with plenty of really inexpensive items. Often, when you have a lot of inexpensive items, people are more likely to pick up more items — and it will often help sell some of your larger-ticketed items in the long run!

{Tip: If you are running a garage sale with multiple families, just put initials on all the price tags so that you can keep a tally sheet of who sold what. And you can even have two people working the money table — one to keep track of the tally sheet and one to handle all of the money transactions.}

7. Price things to sell.

Of all my garage sale tips, this is one of the most important — and something that I have seen people miss the mark on time and time again with garage sales!

When people come to a garage sale, they are expecting to pay garage sale prices. Keep this in mind when you price your items.

While pricing can vary a bit depending on the area you live in, it’s really important to price things to sell. A good rule of thumb is to price things at what you feel would be a good bargain if you were buying that item at someone else’s garage sale.

And it’s better to price something on the low end and have someone actually buy my item, than to have 25 people pick up the item and put it back down on the table because it is too expensive.

garage sale sign

8. Advertise well.

The marketing of your sale is usually the number one factor in how well your sale does. You can have great items, great prices, and a great location — but if people don’t know how to get to your house or can’t find it on their own, you won’t have a successful garage sale!

So put some time and effort into making a number of quality, clearly-readable signs, and put them in conspicuous places that easily lead to your home. The brighter, bolder, and bigger the sign, the better!

And don’t forget to advertise on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist! Both are free to advertise, so why not?! And remember — the more details you can put in your ad, the better. Mention specific items, brands, and sizes.

Often times people are searching for really specific items on Craigslist or Marketplace, so even if they’re not looking at garage sales, they might see one of your listed items pull up in their search! The more descriptive you can be in the listing and title, the better.

And be sure to use proper grammar and spelling, too. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference!

9. Mark items down on the last day.

Things are usually pretty picked over by the last day of the sale. That’s the perfect opportunity to get creative and hand out rock-bottom bargains!

Consider making everything half-price on the last day. We even used to let people “Fill a Bag for a Buck” on the last day of our garage sales, and it was really effective! Sometimes we’d get rid of 25 bags of full stuff in just a few hours by doing this!

Or, if you have quite a bit of stuff left and feel ready to close up shop, you can give things away for free during the last hour of your garage sale.

lemonade stand

10. Don’t forget the cookies and lemonade!

This is one of my favorite garage sale tips! What better way to teach your children entrepreneurial skills and let them earn a little money in the process than to have them set up their own little cookie and lemonade stands at the sale?

Or, if it’s cold outside, try selling hot chocolate, coffee, and fresh cinnamon rolls. I remember we even set up a pancake griddle and sold hot pancakes one year! Everyone loved it.

Baked goods — like homemade cookies and bars — actually sell really well at garage sales. Sometimes you can make over $100 just from selling baked goods!

We also used to let Kathrynne run her own little toy table when she was younger. Everything was a penny and she had a great time interacting with customers and taking money. Best of all, it was a great learning experience for her! It was a chance for her to practice communicating with adults and learn the value of money!

What are you best garage sale tips? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Related Links:


5 Things You Should NOT Buy at ALDI

Because so many of you loved my list of 25 best things to buy at ALDI, I decided it was time for me to put together a list of what NOT to buy at ALDI!

{Psst! Wondering why I love ALDI so much? Read this post on why I think everyone should shop at ALDI to save money!}

What NOT to buy at ALDI

5 Things You Should Never Buy at Aldi

As you well know, I think you can save a lot of money by shopping at Aldi. However, that doesn’t mean that everything at Aldi is a good deal.

One of the most popular posts on my site is my post on 25 of the best things to buy at Aldi. Today, I thought it would be fun to tell you what I think you shouldn’t buy at Aldi.

Cheerios at Aldi

a photo of Dawn at Aldi

Here’s my list of what I think you should avoid buying…

1. Name Brand Items

Don’t buy brand name items! Why? Because not only are these usually over-priced, you can’t use coupons on them to save more money.

What to buy instead: The Aldi brand/off brand counterparts for these name brand items. In most cases, you’ll save 40-60% off of what the name brand item is priced! And we’ve found that it usually works or tastes just as good! (See above photos for side by side comparisons.)

name brand items at Aldi

2. Aldi Finds

When you walk in the store and near the end of the store as you’re going to checkout, Aldi typically has what they call Aldi Finds. These are often name brand items and are typically unique or weird flavor combinations.

I don’t know exactly where they get these from, but my theory is that they were some kind of overstock or trial run at mainstream grocery stores that didn’t do well. (Anyone know?)

Not only are they usually not a great deal, but they are also probably a sort of risky purchase since they are likely a flavor or item you haven’t tried before.

What to buy instead: Stick to the Aldi brand regular deals and pass up the Aldi Finds.

Aldi special buys

3. Seasonal Items

Aldi has a big section of the store (well, big percentage-wise when you compare it to the size of the store!) devoted to Seasonal type deals. Right now, there will be a lot of summer toys and other things that would be geared toward the summer months.

While they often do have some good prices, unless you were looking for that specific item and/or saving up for it and you know this price is less than what you’d pay elsewhere, skip this section of the store.

Why? Because you’ll just end up spending money on “good deals” that you don’t need and weren’t planning to purchase in the first place. This, in turn, will negate all of the savings you are getting on groceries!

What to buy instead: Focus on purchasing the items that are already on your grocery list instead of impulse buying.

pre-packaged food at Aldi

4. Pre-Packaged Food

If you normally buy pre-packaged snacks and frozen foods, then you will save some money by buying them at Aldi. However, please don’t start buying pre-packaged foods just because you think they are “so inexpensive” at Aldi.

What to buy instead: Ingredients to make your own homemade snacks and items!

lemon juice at Aldi

5. Things You Can Get Cheaper at Dollar Tree

If you have a Dollar Tree in your area, be sure to peruse the food and household product aisles to price-check the Dollar Tree prices and sizes against the Aldi prices and sizes.

While some Aldi prices are the same or less, some items are significantly cheaper at Dollar Tree. For instance, see the lemon juice shown above? It’s regularly $2.49 at Kroger, $2.39 at Aldi, and just one dollar at Dollar Tree!

What to buy instead: Nothing! If you can get it cheaper at Dollar Tree, don’t buy it at Aldi! 🙂

Aldi Fliers

Do you agree with my list? What do you think you shouldn’t purchase at Aldi? I’d love to hear!

Related Links:

The Complete Guide on How to Use Swagbucks

Looking for an honest Swagbucks review? Want to know how to make money on Swagbucks? I’ve put together a very comprehensive guide on how Swagbucks works, how to earn free gift cards, and my top tips for earning more with Swagbucks.

Looking for more ways to earn free gift cards? You can earn free gift cards from Shopkick and Fetch Rewards. And here are 15 More Ways to Earn Extra Money.

how to earn more with Swagbucks

I have been using Swagbucks for years, so I thought it was finally time for me to write up a really honest Swagbucks review. Plus, I wanted to give you my top tips on how to use Swagbucks!

What Is Swagbucks?

Swagbucks is a site that rewards you for completing tasks and doing certain actions online. When you complete a task, you’ll earn points called swagbucks (also abbreviated as SB!) that you can cash in for free gift cards.

You can earn free Amazon gift cards, Starbucks gift cards, Visa gift cards, Walmart gift cards, and dozens more! You can even earn gift cards for free hotel, travel, and airline sites.

earn free gift cards with Swagbucks

How Do You Earn Free Gift Cards with Swagbucks?

Want to know how to make money on Swagbucks?

Swagbucks offers many different ways to earn points toward free gift cards or even PayPal cash!

Some of the more popular ways to earn are doing online searches, signing up for offers, printing coupons, completing special offers, and taking polls.

Does Swagbucks Really Work?

When I first heard about Swagbucks, I was a little leery because it sounded too good to be true. But I went ahead and tried it — and after earning multiple gift cards every month for the past eight years, I’m here to tell you in this Swagbucks review that it’s not too good to be true. Swagbucks really works!

And I’m not alone. I know dozens of friends who’ve also had great success with Swagbucks — earning at least a gift card or two every month and sometimes much more than that.

Here’s a Swagbucks review from one of my readers:

I have earned $325 in Amazon Gift Cards from Swagbucks. Last year, I bought all of my husband’s Christmas gifts, and a few gifts for the Grandparents. This year we have used it mostly for “extras” that I didn’t want to pay for, but really wanted to have (aka: my blow money). I normally earn $5-10 a month in gift cards — and I don’t have any referrals under me. I simply search on my laptop and my Android. -Andi

See more testimonials and Swagbucks reviews from my readers on how much they are earning with Swagbucks here.

How Do You Get Started Earning With Swagbucks?

Wondering how to use Swagbucks?

To get started with Swagbucks, just sign up for a free Swagbucks account. It’s simple and easy to sign up and you can start earning points right away!

I encourage you to set an earnings goal each day and try to login and hit that, if possible. If you can even just put in 5 to 15 minutes each day, it can really start to add up! I loved what Megan posted in her Swagbucks review on my Facebook Page that she does:

I have found that watching (usually with the sound off) about 30 seconds on 10 videos on Swagbucks TV is a fast way to earn bucks… in addition to doing the daily poll, NOSO, and using the toolbar. In about 10 minutes of your day, 15 Swagbucks is pretty doable. We have a tight budget, so the 10-15 minutes a day is worth it for us. I have several little kids so I can’t commit much time or energy to it. Every little bit helps, though! This has been great for our family.  -Megan

earn money with Swagbucks

How Much Can You Earn with Swagbucks?

You can easily earn $5 to $20 per month in Amazon gift cards without spending a lot of time.

However, if you want to earn more in a shorter time period, I highly recommend checking out Swagbucks TV — especially if you spend a lot of time working on the internet every day. You can increase your earnings significantly by watching Swagbucks TV each day while you’re working online — or through their smartphone apps.

In addition, if you have friends you know who would love to try out Swagbucks, be sure to pass along your referral link so that they can earn free gift cards, too.

I’ve earned over $75 this year through Swagbucks and I honestly don’t even spend three minutes a day earning points. Not too shabby! -Theresa

Do You Have To Refer People To Make Money?

If you’re curious how to make money on Swagbucks, I have great news! You can earn even without referrals!

Swagbucks has a great referral program: you’ll earn 10% of your referral’s lifetime earnings. Obviously, this is a fantastic way to increase your earnings — and one way that has helped me earn quite a few more Swagbucks over the years.

If you try Swagbucks and it works well for you, be sure to share your referral link with your friends or write a post about it on your blog. Don’t keep a good thing to yourself.

That said, you can still earn a decent amount with Swagbucks even if you have no referrals at all.

earn more with the swagbucks mobile apps

How Do You Redeem Your Swagbucks?

Once you’ve earned enough Swagbucks to cash in for a gift card, you just log into your account and request your gift card. You’ll have to confirm your request and then your gift card will show up in your account within a few weeks.

There are dozens of different gift cards to choose from — VISA, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Starbucks, and more! You even have the ability to trade in for straight cash via PayPal!

You can cash out quickly when you earn SB at the 300 or 500 mark ($3 and $5 gift cards, respectively). Or you can save up your SB and cash in for the biggies at the $25, $50, or $100 mark. (They even have airline and hotel gift cards!!)

Is Swagbucks Really Worth Your Time?

There are a lot of really positive Swagbucks reviews out there, but they don’t answer this very important question…Is it worth my time?

When my husband was in law school and every penny had to be carefully spent, I would have LOVED to have something like Swagbucks.

I was desperate for any way to make $0.50 — even if it took me 10 to 20 minutes (or longer!) to do so. At that time in my life, it was good if I were making $2-3 per hour. Swagbucks would have been a DREAM come true to have as an option!

I never forget those days and I know many people here are in that kind of spot in their life, so I want to provide them with solutions that might work for those who don’t have a lot of immediate options or for whom an extra $15 or $25 per month could make such a difference!

If you’re not in that season of life and don’t have extra pockets of time in your day when you can multi-task and earn SB while doing something you’d already be doing (working on the computer, cooking, cleaning, etc.), there are probably better ways to be spending your time.

However, I bet everyone has at least a little bit of extra time each day when you could easily earn at least a few SB. And it’s fun to watch them add up over time!

How to Make Money on Swagbucks

If you’re interested in getting started after reading my Swagbucks review, I wanted to give you some best tips for earning more on Swagbucks.

These are my top 15 best tips on how to earn Swagbucks fast…

print coupons to earn Swagbucks fast

1. Print Coupons

Did you know you can earn SB for printing coupons? You’ll earn $0.01 per coupon printed (up to 50 SB per day). Allow 48 hours for these to be credited to your account.

To find the coupons, look under Discover and then Grocery Coupons. It also says that you’ll also earn 25 SB for every coupon redeemed in-store, but it takes up to 12 weeks for these to show up in your account.

Play games to make money on Swagbucks

2. Play Games

There are a few games that are free to play and you can easily earn 10 SB every day for doing so.

Look under Play on the sidebar and then choose Swagasaurus Run (scroll past the games that aren’t free to find it). You get 2 SB for every two games you play (each game takes about 30-60 seconds to play), up to 10 SB total per day.

My kids love to help earn SB by playing these games!

take Swagbucks surveys to earn gift cards

3. Answer Questions

You can earn 2 SB for every 10 multiple choice questions that you answer! There is eventually a limit to this once they’ve asked you all of the available questions, but you can do it multiple times each day to earn!

To find this offer, just click on Answer and then look over on the far right side.

Hint: This is also really important to do, because it helps fill out your survey profile so that Swagbucks is able to better fit you with available survey opportunities! I find that the more I answer these questions, the better survey opportunities I get!

Swagbucks to do list

4. Complete the To Do List Every Day

When you log into Swagbucks, look on the lefthand sidebar for your daily To Do list. You can click on each of the items on the list and it will take you directly to where you need to go to complete the task.

Most of these can be done in seconds and you’ll be awarded a bonus if you complete all of the tasks on your list each day.

Hint: Even if you don’t have time to do all the tasks each day, try to complete just six of the tasks, because you’ll at least get a smaller bonus!

Sarah says: “I absolutely love Swagbucks. The Amazon gift cards I earn from it pays for nearly all of the Christmas gifts we purchase as well as other household purchases throughout the year. I think everyone should give it a try.”

swagbucks inbox

5. Check Your Swagbucks Inbox

Click on the little mailbox icon in the upper right corner and check your Swagbucks inbox. Usually, there are a least a few offers in there to earn easy Swagbucks — such as to watch a video and earn 1 SB or to click on an article and earn 3 to 5 SB.

I typically just click on anything email that is a 1-5 SB offer and then click through on it. You don’t want to take much time on these, but if you can earn a few SB in less than 30 seconds or a minute, it might be worth it!

watch Swagbucks videos to earn more gift cards

6. Play Videos in the Background While You Work

If you have a job that you can play videos in the background on your phone or computer, don’t miss this! You can also play them on your phone or computer while you’re working on other tasks at home or when you’re out and about.

Best of all, there is no limit to how many videos you can watch. You earn points when you’ve watched an entire playlist.

Tips For Earning More with Swagbucks Videos:

I would recommend making it a habit to start playing the videos at set times during the day when you don’t need your phone, but can have it near to you. I just turn off the sound and have the phone nearby me when I’m working on blog projects. You’ll want to check in on it periodically as sometimes it will stop playing or you’ll need to engage with the content or restart the videos to continue watching.

Here are two tips from my readers’ Swagbucks reviews:

Christina says: “I LOVE Swagbucks! Worst month, I make about $40. Best month, $120. Pays for all of our toiletries and then some. I run nCrave videos on my desktop, and run videos on my phone and tablet. Not much else.”

Karen says:  “Make sure you have the most up to date version of the apps. If you don’t, it won’t let you earn points. I exclusively use the apps when I’m not using my phone or run them on another mobile device. It’s rare for me to not earn 50 SB a day from them.”

Do note that many of the videos are for movie trailers or other things that might not necessarily be family friendly. Also, keep in mind that playing videos will drain your phone battery, so it’s great to do this when you can have your phone plugged in.

SwagButton in browser

7. Install the SwagButton on your Browser

If you have Chrome or Safari, be sure to add the SwagButton to your browser! (To download the SwagButton, look for it at the bottom of the menu on the lefthand side of your screen once you’re logged in.)

This is just a little extension you add to the top of your browser in the bookmarks/menu area, but I think it’s one of the most helpful Swagbucks tools!

I love the SwagButton, because it reminds you to use Swagbucks on a daily basis! Not only does it automatically pop up for any site you’re shopping at to remind you to activate cash back, but it also alerts you to swag codes all day every day!

Since I work from the computer all day, I almost never miss a swag code anymore! And there’s even a place you can enter the swag code right from the SwagButton.

It also alerts you to survey opportunities that specifically fit your profile. I typically get alerted for 10-minute surveys that will earn me at least 50 SB. And I find that I almost always qualify right away and can earn the SB very quickly. For some reason, the surveys that become available to me through the SwagButton are almost always successful (compared to the ones I’ll try and try to qualify for from the “Answers” page on the actual Swagbucks site.)

I would miss out on SO many cash back opportunities, survey earnings, and swag codes if I didn’t have the SwagButton installed on my browser.

{Psst! Swagbucks is also currently offering a bonus 100 SB when you refer someone with your SwagButton referral link. Once they install the SwagButton and start using it normally within 30 days, you’ll receive a bonus 100 SB. This is on top of all your regular referral earnings!}

book travel through Swagbucks

8. Book Your Travel Through Swagbucks

Do you purchase airline tickets or book hotels online? If so, you’ll want to check to see if you can purchase them through Swagbucks!

They offer great cash back offers for many travel sites. And typically, when you book travel, it’s going to be at least a few hundred dollars — which means that your cash back can add up very quickly!

To book your travel, just go to the Shop section on the lefthand sidebar and then click on Travel. Click through on whatever travel site you are planning to purchase your tickets or book your hotel through.

Since it takes a little while for Swagbucks to verify things, allow a week for your purchase to show up as pending in your account.

9. Refer Your Friends

Have any friends who might be interested in earning free gift cards with Swagbucks? If you encourage them to sign up with your referral code, you’ll earn 10% of their earnings — for life! So as long as they are earning Swagbucks, you’re earning Swagbucks!

Plus, they oftentimes run bonus offers where you can get an additional SB bonus when they first sign up and earn SB.

So if you find that you really love Swagbucks, be sure to share your Swagbucks review with friends to earn even more!

{For example, right now they’re offering an extra 300 SB if your friend signs up and earns 300 SB in the first month! They’re also offering the bonus 100 SB mentioned above if you refer someone to install the swag button in their browser — and that’s on top of all the extra referral earnings!!}

Swagbucks Answer App

10. Download the Swagbucks Answers App

Qualifying for Gold Surveys on Swagbucks can be a little frustrating at times, but I do try to earn 50-100 swagbucks from Gold Surveys each day. If you qualify for one, it’s such an easy way to quickly earn 50-100 swagbucks!

This is where the Swagbucks Answers app really helps out. It can sometimes be frustrating or boring to take Gold Surveys on my computer, but I don’t mind taking surveys through the app when I have down time on the go!

I try to earn swagbucks for at least one Gold Survey through the app each day — whether it’s when I’m waiting for something to finish cooking, watching a tv show, sitting in the passenger’s seat of a car while someone else is driving, or waiting at an appointment or in the carpool line! I can usually find a small pocket of time to qualify and earn for a Gold Survey.

Hint: I go for the surveys that take less than 15 minutes and give me at least 50 SB — that way it’s definitely worth my time and it doesn’t take too long!

Swagbucks Shopping Receipts

11. Submit Your Grocery Receipts

Another great perk of the Swagbucks Answer App is that you can submit your grocery receipts to earn 2 SB!

Any time you have a grocery receipt from purchasing groceries, household, or personal care items, just snap a photo of your receipt and submit it right in the app! You’ll earn 2 SB per receipt, and it’s SO easy to do!

I’ve gotten into the habit of saving all my receipts and being sure to submit them in the app. It’s a super quick way to earn a few extra SB each week.

Daily Swagbucks Goal

12. Try to Hit Your Daily Goals Each Day

This is one of the biggest secrets to earning more swagbucks! At the top of your screen when you’re logged in, you’ll see a “daily goal” area. Each day, you have a daily goal to hit. If you hit that goal, you’ll get BONUS swagbucks!

And once you hit the first goal, you have a chance to hit a second bonus goal — giving you even more swagbucks. At the end of each month, you’ll confirm your monthly bonus and be awarded for all of the daily goals you hit that month!

I typically aim to hit the second goal each day, which gives me anywhere between 5-8 extra swagbucks per day. That equates to about 150-240 bonus swagbucks per month!

Swagbucks Winning Streaks

On top of that, you can get winning streak bonuses for meeting your daily goals multiple days in a row:

  • 7 days in a row — bonus 25 SB.
  • 14 days in a row — bonus 100 SB.
  • 21 days in a row — bonus 200 SB.
  • 31 days in a row — bonus 300 SB.

This is such a great way to earn swagbucks fast!

SWAGO Board

13. Play SWAGO Each Month

This may not be something you see often in Swagbucks reviews, but it’s one of my favorite tips!

If you haven’t been playing SWAGO, you’re missing out on a BIG earning opportunity with Swagbucks!

SWAGO is sort of like BINGO with swagbucks activities. Each square has a certain activity you have to do in order to earn swagbucks.

You get to choose which pattern to go for and submit your board for bonus SB!

SWAGO typically occurs once (sometimes twice) per month. I just submitted my SWAGO board for May and earned a bonus 165 swagbucks. And I didn’t do anything very differently than normal. I just made sure I did all of the activities I needed to do in order to submit my board. Score!!

Swagbucks Offers

 

14. Sign Up for Trial Offers Through Swagbucks

Have you been wanting to try meal delivery boxes, Hulu, BarkBox, Graze, or other subscription-based services?

If so, be sure to double check if Swagbucks rewards you for your first trial offer! You can often earn BIG swagbucks for signing up for your trial through Swagbucks.

For example, right now you can earn 4000 swagbucks on your first HelloFresh box, 3500 swagbucks on your first Schwan’s delivery, 2000 swagbucks on your first HomeChef box, 500 SB on your first IntaCart purchase, 1000 swagbucks when you sign up for Hulu, 4000 swagbucks when you try BarkBox, and tons more!

While I don’t recommend just signing up for these offers to earn swagbucks, it’s definitely worth activating the offer through Swagbucks if you’re already planning on trying these services in the first place.

Hint: If you have the SwagButton installed, it will alert you when free trial offers like this exist!

Swagbucks Swaggernauts Facebook group

15. Join the Swagbucks Swaggernauts Facebook Group

Looking for more tips beyond what I mention in this Swagbucks review?

Karen submitted this tip and she said, “There is a Facebook group called Swagbucks Swaggernauts that is awesome! Be sure and read the pinned post at the top-it is full of tips and hints. Members also post new deals that worked and things to look for.”

I hope this Swagbucks review was helpful! What other tips or advice do you have for earning more Swagbucks? Tell us in the comments so we can help each other out! And I’d love to hear your own personal experiences and Swagbucks review if you have one to share.

Related Links:

This Week’s $70 Budget (+ our menu plan)

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our disclosure policy here.

I was $0.99 over-budget this week… however, since I’ve been under-budget the past few weeks, I’m good with it! 😉

This Week's $70 Grocery Budget

I went to two different Kroger stores on Tuesday morning while I was dropping the kids off at school.

Kroger Shopping Trip #1:

  • Chocolate Milk — marked down to $1.49
  • Carrots — $0.99
  • Breakfast Sausage Links — marked down to $1.79
  • 3 packages of breakfast sausage — marked down to $1.79 each
  • Total with tax: $10.24

This Week's $70 Grocery Budget

This Week's $70 Grocery Budget

This Week's $70 Grocery Budget

Kroger Shopping Trip #2:

  • Kroger Half & Half — $1.79
  • 3 boxes of Shrimp Potstickers — marked down to $1.49 each
  • 2 packages of King’s Hawaiian Hot Dog Buns — marked down to $1.79 each
  • 2 bars of Lindt chocolate — $0.99 each
  • 1 box of Matzo Ball soup — marked down to $0.50 each
  • 1 box of Stuffed Clams — marked down to $2.99
  • 2 packages of salmon — marked down to $1.99 each
  • Hunt’s Tomato Sauce — marked down to $0.25
  • Hormel Chili — marked down to $0.49
  • Mint — marked down to $0.25
  • Simple Truth Eggs — $2.99
  • Diced Ham — $1.59
  • Dove PB Eggs — $0.09
  • 2 packages of Bran Muffin Mix — marked down to $0.25 each
  • 2 Salad Kits — marked down to $1.99 each
  • 1 bag of apples — marked down to $0.99
  • 2 boxes of Kroger cereal — $1.49 each
  • Kroger baking mix — marked down to $0.79
  • Barlean’s Forti-Flax — marked down to $1.50
  • Lemon juice — $2.49
  • Milk — $2.69
  • Total with tax: $43.59

This Week's $70 Grocery Budget

I was excited to get this printout offer to take a survey and get $5 off my next shopping order. I wrote more about it here.

grocery shopping trip

We invited friends over for dinner on Saturday, so Jesse ran to the store on Friday to pick up a few things we needed for that.

Kroger Shopping Trip #3:

  • 2 bunches of Lettuce — $1.79
  • Ragu Pasta Sauce — $1.50
  • Kroger Butter — $3.19
  • Breyer’s Ice Cream — $3.99
  • Cottage Cheese — $3.89
  • Total with tax: $17.16

What We Ate This Past Week

Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate.

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here.

Our Menu Plan

Breakfasts:

  • Cereal, Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs

Lunches:

  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Carrots, Oranges, Salads, Leftovers, Cookies

Snacks:

  • Fruit, Cookies, Popcorn, Ice Cream, Crackers & Cheese, Carrots & Hummus

Dinners:

  • Sunday — Fend for yourself
  • Monday — Dinner at TopGolf for Silas’ birthday
  • Tuesday — Meatballs, Twice Baked Potatoes, Fruit
  • Wednesday — Leftover Meatballs, Potstickers, Fruit
  • Thursday — Homemade Pizza, Sweet Potato Fries, Fruit
  • Friday — Kaitlynn went out to dinner with her class for school formal, Jesse and I met friends for Panera, and Silas and Kathrynne had hot dogs
  • Saturday — We had friends over for dinner and we made Ziti, Peas, Homemade Rolls, Salad, Apple Crisp/Ice Cream.

Grocery Budget Totals

Total spent on groceries: $70.99

Cashback earned this week: 350 points for submitting my receipts to Fetch rewards + $0.45 for submitting my receipt to iBotta rewards.

25 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Wishing you could figure out how to save money on groceries? In this post, I share 25 simple ways you can lower your grocery bill — starting today!

Looking for more ways to save money on groceries? Check out my $70 Grocery Trip posts, How I Cut $80 Off Our Grocery Bill, and How We Lowered Our Grocery Bill By 60%.

Simple Ways to Save on Groceries

1. Plan a menu.

Want to save even more? Plan your menu based upon what you already have on hand and what’s on sale at the store.

Need help: Read my post on How to Plan a Menu.

2. Have a budget.

Need a ballpark figure for starting out? I recommend shooting for $20 to $30 per person per week. Then, work on slowly lowering that by 1-3% every month.

Tip: Use a calculator to keep tabs on how much you are spending as you add things to your cart at the store.

3. Use less meat.

View meat more as a condiment then as the main thing for your meal. To further your savings, try adding lentils to ground beef or beans and onions and tomatoes to taco meat.

Need more inspiration? Check out my post on How to Eat Less Meat.

big grocery haul

4. Shop the loss leaders.

These are the weekly specials — usually advertised on the front page of your store flyer — that are such great prices your store is taking a loss for you to buy them.

They are banking on the fact that you’ll come in to get these great deals and then buy a lot of others things, too. But hey, no one says you have to load up your cart with a bunch of other over-priced items!

5. Shop at more than one store.

Scout out all of the stores in your area and see which ones routinely have the best prices. Also, pay attention to weekly sales and specials at a few local stores. Plan your shopping trips based upon which store has the best deals that week.

Skeptical as to how this works? Check out my post on How to Shop at More Than One Store.

6. Use cash.

This is one of my biggest tips for how to save money on groceries! It seems simple, but it works.

It’s a fact of life: If you only bring cash to the grocery story from your allotted grocery budget, you can’t go over budget! 🙂 Don’t knock this until you’ve tried it. It’s a surefire way to help you stay on track with your budget.

Need help getting started? Read my post on How to Shop With Cash Only.

how to save money on groceries

7. Print or download some coupons.

Before shopping, take a few minutes to check out the Coupon Database for printable coupons or your store’s online coupons (if they offer them) to see if there are any coupons for items you are already planning to buy.

8. Look for markdowns.

If your store offers markdowns, keep on the alert for these when shopping.

When you find a great deal, see if you have enough money in your budget to buy it. Consider swapping out something on your list for this item. (For instance, if you were planning to buy cereal and you find a great deal on boxed oatmeal that is less expensive, buy that instead.)

Need more tips? Check out my post on How to Find Markdowns at Kroger.

9. Eat from the pantry.

Occasionally challenge yourself to see how long you can go without going to the store. It’s amazing how creative you can get — especially if you view it like a fun game!

Want more inspiration? Read my post on How to Eat From the Pantry.

huge grocery trip with fresh food

10. Use your freezer.

If you have a deep freeze, make sure you are using it by buying items when they are on their lowest prices and freezing them. Don’t have a deep freeze? Make use of every nook and cranny of what little freezer space you have!

Need tips for using your freezer? Here’s my post on How to Become Best Friends With Your Freezer!

11. Buy ahead.

Most items routinely go on sale every 12 weeks at the grocery store. My goal is to never pay full price for any item. Instead, I try to stock up when it is on the lowest price. I aim to buy enough to tide me over until the next sale.

Find some of my best tips here for practicing the Buy Ahead Principle.

12. Plan your menu based upon what you already have on hand.

Menu planning is your best friend when you’re learning how to save money on groceries.

The more you buy ahead when items are on sale (see #11), the less you’ll spend on groceries. Plus, the more you’ll be able to plan a menu based upon what you already have on hand.

Before making a grocery list, always look through your refrigerator, freezer, and cupboard to see what you already have. Do you really need to go to the store or can you make do with what you have?

sale flyer in store

13. Use Swagbucks to buy groceries.

Get into the habit of turning on the Swagbucks videos or doing some things on the Swagbucks site every day. You can do this while you’re relaxing and watching a show at night. Or while you’re waiting for your coffee to brew in the morning.

By making Swagbucks a simple part of your day, you can pretty easily earn up to $25 in Amazon gift cards each month. Use these gift cards toward grocery items that are on sale on Amazon to save more.

14. Have a leftovers night.

Once a week, have a Clean Out the Fridge Night for dinner. Pull out all the odds and ends and serve a leftover Buffet. This can be a fun — and unique — dinner. Plus, it encourages people to use what you already have!

Bonus tip: Having a leftovers night once a week means you don’t have to cook dinner one night each week!

15. Don’t be a brand “snob”.

Buy the store brand or off brand whenever possible. (The only exception I make to this rule is when I can get the name brand marked down or on a great sale. If it’s cheaper to buy the name brand, you better believe I’ll buy it!)

Tip: I have more tips here on why you should stop being a brand snob.

fresh salad for lunch

16. Drink more water.

Buying fewer soft drinks and other beverages can significantly reduce your grocery bill over the course of a year. Plus, water is just plain better for you!

17. Make your own snacks.

Challenge yourself to find simple homemade snack ideas that are frugal and your family will enjoy. You can find some of our favorite snack items here.

(Bonus tip: I keep a snack stash of items that I find on great deals and just bring out a few things from this stash each week. This way, there are always

18. Sign up for cashback apps.

Download the iBotta, Fetch, and Shopkick apps. See if you can earn kicks from Shopkick when you go to the grocery store. Then, scan your receipt on Fetch after shopping to earn a little cashback. Finally, check to see if you purchased anything that qualifies for cash back from iBotta.

blackberries sale

19. Have a meatless meal once a week.

Meatless doesn’t have to mean bland and tasteless! Some of our favorite meatless meals are lasagna casserole (we leave out the ground beef) and pancakes and eggs.

20. Buy whatever produce is on sale or marked down.

We typically only buy produce if it’s on sale or marked down. Yes, it means we usually only have 2-3 different veggies and 2-3 different fruits that week (unless I found lots of different sales/markdowns), but because the sales change each week, we eat lots of different veggies and fruits over the course of a few months.

I aim to pay no more than $0.99 per pound for fruit and can usually always find at least 1-2 fruits that are that inexpensive (well, plus bananas which are always cheaper than $0.99/lb!)

21. Find a blogger covering deals at your local store.

Don’t spend hours looking for deals if there is already a blogger doing all of the legwork for you! Search for your local city/town + “coupon matchups” or “deal blogger”.

If that doesn’t pull anything up, try searching for the towns around you. For those of you who live in a very small town, you might not find anything. However, if you live in a decent-sized town, there’s a good chance you’ll find someone — maybe even multiple bloggers!

If you still can’t find anything, then search your store’s name and “coupon match-ups” or “deal blogger”.

cantaloupes sale

22. Don’t shop on an empty stomach.

This is a very basic tip, but it is one that is often overlooked. If you go into a store when you are really hungry, you’re going to have a lot less willpower and self control. And thus, you’ll likely spend more money and struggle to pass up impulse purchases.

23. Stick to simple meals with inexpensive ingredients.

When you’re planning your menu, think about how much your recipes will cost you to make.

It doesn’t have to be a scientific to-the-penny figure, but just having a good idea that there is a $10 difference between the price of making one meal as opposed to another meal can help you decide whether you can afford to make something or perhaps should save it for a special occasion.

24. Shop at Dollar Tree.

Very few people think of buying grocery items at Dollar Tree. It can be a goldmine of great deals on groceries, though.

Please note: Not every deal at Dollar Tree is a good deal. However, many things — like lemon juice, brown rice, apple cider vinegar, bread, beans, and much more — can be a lot less than what you’d pay at the grocery store.

25. Don’t buy pre-packaged, unless it’s on a great sale!

Look for ways to cut down on pre-packaged purchases. In most cases, these are quite a bit pricier and not as healthful. The only time I will buy pre-packaged is if there’s a great rockbottom price (such as a markdown or a sale paired with a coupon).

What are your best tips for how to save money on groceries? Tell us in the comments.

For More Ways to Save Money on Groceries:

My Honest SmileDirectClub Review (first month)

Looking for an honest review of SmileDirectClub? In this post, I share my first month of wearing my aligners and my honest thoughts on the experience.

Note: This post is sponsored by SmileDirectClub and contains affiliate links. All opinions are 100% my own. Read our disclosure policy here.

Smile Direct Club box

Back in December, I posted an in-depth post about my honest experience with SmileDirectClub. In that post, I shared about how it works to get your teeth scanned, what the process is like, and what you can expect if you sign up with SmileDirectClub.

Psst! Missed my Completely Honest Review post? Read it here.

A woman getting a smile direct club scan

Why I Signed Up for SmileDirectClub

Many of you asked whether I had decided to go through with the SmileDirectClub treatment plan. I’m happy to report that I worked up the courage to move forward with getting the aligners. 🙂

As I mentioned in my first post, I didn’t have braces as a child. I often wish that I had when I am doing live videos and I notice my crooked teeth. So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with SmileDirectClub and do an honest review of my experience.

My hope is that this honest review will help those of you who have considered trying SmileDirectClub make a very informed decision. In addition, I hope to help some of you who are considering getting braces be inspired to look into a less expensive alternatives.

By the way, my treatment plan is only supposed to be 5 months total, if all goes well. I should have a great new smile by my 38th birthday in October. I’m excited!

Smile Direct Club box

How SmileDirectClub Works

If you missed that post, you can read it here. Here’s a basic recap of how SmileDirectClub works:

  1. You go to a SmileShop to get a 3D scan of your smile (it’s FREE!) OR you use an at-home impression kit (use coupon code MSMDEAL to get 50% off the price) to make an impression so they can build a 3D impression of your smile. (You can see what the at-home impression kit is below.)
  2. Your 3D smile is reviewed by a duly licensed dentist or orthodontist, who will guide your new smile from beginning to end.
  3. They send you a preview of your new smile showing how your smile will transform and begin production of your invisible aligners, as unique to you as a fingerprint.
  4. They send you aligners in the mail that you wear 24/7 (except for when you eat) during a 6-month process. You change these out every week or every other week during the process. (They send you texts to remind you when you need to change the aligners). (Be sure use coupon code MSMDEAL to save an additional $100 off the cost of your aligners!)
  5. You work with a licensed dentist or orthodontist the entire time and they ask you to send periodic photos to help them make sure you are on track.
  6. At the end of 6 months, you can purchase a set of retainers for $99 to help maintain your smile. You just wear them at night to keep your new smile in place.

Smile Direct Club box

What the First Month Has Been Like

I had prepared myself that the first month was going to be rough. Kathrynne currently has braces and I watched her suffer through a lot of mouth pain for the first few weeks after she got them.

To my great surprise, I’ve only experienced mild discomfort with the aligners. I’ve follow their instructions to put the new set on before I go to bed. My teeth have been somewhat sore, but nothing like what I expected.

When you first get your SmileDirectClub kit in the mail with all of your aligners, you go in to their website and set up your plan. You put in the day you started wearing them and then they send you email and text reminders when it’s time to change out aligners. This is perfect for someone like me who gets busy and might not always remember.

By the way, you are supposed to wear the first two sets for one week each and then the third set for two weeks. You repeat this every month.

How Smile Direct Club works

I’m already about 12% done with my treatment plan — and I can already tell that my teeth have shifted and gotten straighter! YAY!

Smile Direct Club box

What I Love About SmileDirectClub

  • I love that the price is less expensive than getting braces. While it depends upon your doctor and insurance, you’re typically going to pay at least $3500 for traditional braces. The SmileDirectClub treatment plan only costs $1895 to $2290 for the entire process! And they do work with some insurance companies, too.
  • I love that I don’t have to go to appointments. Seriously, I know it’s silly, but it’s true. This was one big factor holding me back from moving forward with getting braces was the time involved going to so many orthodontist appointments.
  • I love that they are so thorough in explaining the process and setting you up for success. They send you emails with lots of details, they provide links to in-depth articles, and there is a booklet in your kit that answers all the questions you could have.
  • I love that you can take them out. Okay, call me weird, but the thought of having something semi-permanently stuck in my mouth that only an orthodontist can take out just makes me feel uncomfortable. I love that I can take these out a few times per day to eat and drink.

Smile Direct Club box

What I Don’t Like About SmileDirectClub

  • I don’t like that you have to take them out to eat or drink. You can only drink clear cool water with the aligners in. It can be a bit of a hassle to have to take them out every time to you eat or drink.
  • I don’t like that they seem to attract lipstick. I haven’t changed anything with my lipstick routine, but ever since I got the aligners, I have to be so careful about what lipstick I wear and how I put it on. Multiple times, I’ve discovered that
  • I don’t like that they feel unsanitary sometimes. It feels kind of gross to be taking things in and out of your mouth multiple times per day — especially when I’m out and about or am eating with friends. I’ve gotten better at being able to quickly take them out and stick them in the case, but it feels a little gross to do it in front of people. (Hey, I’m just being honest!)
  • I don’t like that my speech sounds and feels a little garbled. While it doesn’t sound too bad, I can’t talk as clearly as usual with the aligners in. Because of this, I’ve taken them out when I’ve recorded podcasts or spoken at a conference.

(Please note: The aligners are only going on your teeth. They aren’t doing anything with your jaw so they will not correct overbites or other really misaligned teeth issues. You can take a 30-second quiz on their site to see if you are a candidate for their services based upon how your teeth are. I’d recommend getting a second opinion from a local orthodontist if you aren’t sure. I also would highly, highly recommend going into a local shop. This way you can get a scan and make sure you feel comfortable with going through this process.)

Smile Direct Club box

Want to try SmileDirectClub?

If you can’t go into a local SmileShop to get a 3D Scan done, you can order an at-home Impression Kit (shown above). Again, I would personally recommend going into a SmileShop. It’s completely FREE to do so and they do such a great job of giving you such a high-quality scan.

But you if you do end up ordering an at-home Impression Kit, use coupon code MSMDEAL to get 50% off the price.

And if you decide to sign up with SmileDirectClub, you can also use coupon code MSMDEAL at checkout to get $100 off the price of your Invisible Aligners.

Have you used SmileDirectClub before? If so, I’d love to hear your honest opinions and experience with it. If you have any questions about the process, leave them in the comments. I’ll do my best to answer them for you or find out an answer for you!