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5 Ways to Earn Rewards and Extra Money With Your Smart Phone

Guest post from Anna of Real Ways to Earn Money Online

From the day I got my iPhone, it became one of my “can’t live without it” possessions. My excitement over my new toy only increased when I learned that in addition to playing games, tracking calories, and organizing my grocery list, I could also use it to earn money and redeemable points!

There are several different apps out there you can use for these purposes, but the following five are truly exceptional:

1. Field Agent:

Field Agent is for iPhone users only. You get paid for using your phone to do things like take pictures of store displays and answer short surveys. Most jobs pay between $2 and $8 each. Payment is made with Paypal.

2. Gig Walk:

The Gig Walk app is also just for the iPhone, and it is very similar to Field Agent. You get paid cash for doing little odd jobs which normally involve taking pictures with your phone while you’re out and about.

The app is limited for use by people in certain geographic areas which currently include the San Francisco Bay area, Chicago, Los Angeles, South Florida, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Payout is via Paypal.

3. Check Point:

The CheckPoints app is my favorite! I use it almost every time I go shopping. You just open the app, find the products listed in the store, and scan the item barcodes with your phone.

You’ll get redeemable points for each item you scan, and you can use these to get gift cards to your favorite stores (including Amazon)! You can also earn points for downloading and trying out apps.The Checkpoints app is available for iPhone and Android users.

4. WeReward:

The WeReward app will award you points for taking pictures of yourself with different products, checking in at various places of business, and for trying out new apps. Every point you get equals one cent and most “jobs” pay anywhere from 10 points to 500 points.

You can cash out with Paypal once you have $10 in your account. This app is open to iPhone, Blackberry, and Android users.

5. ShopKick:

Using the ShopKick app is a lot like using the Checkpoints app — you scan products while you shop and earn points that you can redeem for gift cards.

You can also use the app to take advantage of special in-store offers exclusive to Shopkick users. These offers are easily redeemable right at the cash register — you just let the cashier scan your phone. The app is available for iPhone and Android users.

These smartphone apps are all FREE to download and use. Just do a search for them in your app store, install, and start getting rewarded for things you do every day!

Anna Thurman researches various online money-earning opportunities and work at home jobs. Her findings are published via her website, Real Ways to Earn Money Online.

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How I Find Killer Online Steals and Deals

Guest post by Lindsay of Creative Dough

My saving journey started last summer when I made the decision to find slouch boots online for $10. This declaration branded me “dreamer” in my circle of friends and family saying:

“Nobody gets boots for $10. If you’re really lucky, you’ll find them for $20.”

But I did!

I was determined. The fact that I didn’t give in to the shiny price tag of those $20 rip-offs has proved to make all the difference. Not only did I find my $10 very cute boots, but I’ve found similar deals again and again.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way:

1. High to low pricing

There is a little drop down menu that can be found at most online shopping sites that immediately puts the cheapest products first. Look for your product on that first page. Can you find it in your price range? If the answer is “no,” this probably isn’t your website (try looking at a cheaper online/clearance store).

2. Search engines

Ask for what you want. If you would like a pair of boots for $10, type exactly that. For me, it’s kind of a wishing game. I ask the search engine for $10 boots and scan the area, if none of the websites lead me to anything substantial, then I must have asked incorrectly, so I ask again, only a different way this time (ex: Websites with cheap boots, $10 shoes, etc.)

3. Yahoo! Questions

I’ve been viewing Yahoo! questions for years. Chances are, you aren’t the only one searching for those $10 boots. Just tack the words “yahoo questions” at the end of your search and you will be surprised at the wealth of information these forums hold, and you don’t have to be a member to view them.

4. Promo Codes

Before you check out, quickly search for promo codes. Retail Me Not is a great online resource to find those last minute price cuts.

5. Make sure you include the cost of shipping

Those boots may look $10 online, but with shipping they could be $16. To save on shipping, order more than one product at a time, order with a friend and share the shipping, or look for a free shipping promo code.

Finally, be patient; good things come in time. Happy Saving!

Lauren is a fun, easy-going girl who doesn’t like to spend more than $20 at a time. This takes some creative thinking, which is how she came up with her blog name, Creative Dough. Her goal is to help people who are looking to save more than just a few extra dollars!

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The Small Things Add Up

Guest post by Sabrina from The Unlikely Homemaker

In the same way that the small things you purchase add up to a lot at the end of the month, the small ways you save can also add up to a huge amount at the end of the month.

Spending $5 at a thrift store every week for a few children’s shirts saves you money over buying them new, but over the course of a month that is $22 (plus tax!). While that is still not much, when you have almost no money, it’s like gold. I would much rather keep that $22 in my pocket and repair clothes we already own.

Buying a Sweet Tea every day on the way to pick your kids up from school can add up $22 or more if you also buy snacks for the kids. I would rather make my own at home using tea bags and honey.

If you buy a pack of gum every time you go grocery shopping (say, three times a week?) that can total $13 per month minimum, assuming you are only paying $1 per pack.

Going out to dinner can sometimes be cost/stress effective, but sometimes it is far better to prepare a meal at home. For two adults and two children (one who is only a year old) it can cost my family around $50 to have dinner out. That includes drinks and any appetizers we choose to get. For us to go out once a week, we would be spending $216 a month! Instead, we choose to go once a month, and use coupons so our cost is about $25-$30. That’s a $191 per month savings.

Buying your children a snack at the grocery store because you forgot to feed them before you left can add up to $13 a month or even more if you aren’t choosing something for under $1 (or if you have multiple children to buy for). It is much less expensive to buy a box of granola bars (or similar) and keep them in your car. That way, you won’t have to leave the store early or buy them a snack while you are there.

Small savings every day can add up to a lot. Following just the simple tips above, we save over $250 per month and saving in the small things has freed up enough extra money for me to be able to stay home with our children without it causing too much financial stress.

What are some small ways you cut corners and save money?

Sabrina Hartman is a new-ish stay at home mom to a 2-1/2-year-old and a 1-year-old. She loves to find new ways to save money to compensate for leaving the workplace, and is finding her inner homemaker in the process. She tracks her homemaking life and tips at The Unlikely Homemaker and offers a kitchen tip/guide site at Kitchen Cheat Sheet.

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7 Tips for Stockpiling for a Move

Guest post by Lacey from Live Loved

My family and I recently moved to a new city and remodeled a house. My in-laws graciously allowed us to stay with them for a time, paying a minimal amount for rent and groceries. Although I was ecstatic to move into our home, I felt a growing amount of worry as the time came to do so — most of it had to do with our grocery budget.

I knew there were a lot of things we would need to buy to get our pantry re-established, especially since we do the majority of our cooking and eating at home. Groceries can add up fast and our tight budget didn’t allow for much wiggle room at all.

My worry was beginning to build.

And then, I began unpacking. And do you know what I found? All kinds of canned tomatoes, oils, spices, pastas, beans, rice, and more. I had completely forgotten that I had packed whatever things I could from our stockpile and kept it in storage at our in-laws. All of which helped to fill my empty pantry that I had been so worried about.

What’s the point of all of this? I think there a few things that can be learned from my experience, and I hope they might prove helpful for you:

1. Don’t worry!

I realized that my worry was very unnecessary. Besides the fact that worry doesn’t accomplish anything, I also claim to rest completely in the Lord and the fact that He knows our needs better than I do. He is the one who provides for our family.

2. Make the effort to stockpile.

If you are moving, list all the items you can stockpile, and then do it! Include cleaning products and dried pantry goods you know will hold up to traveling and storage.

3. Don’t go overboard.

The point is to help get your family’s pantry set-up, not feed the entire neighborhood. Packing and unpacking boxes is a chore even with just a few things, so don’t add too much to your load.

4. Protect your stockpile.

If things need to be in storage, make sure they are well-covered from dust and bugs. Some things I even wrapped in plastic bags and then put into a well-sealed box.

5. Store items in a climate controlled space.

Spices, nuts, oils, and baking goods won’t last forever, but especially not in extreme heat.

6. Write dates on everything.

That way you know how long you have before it goes bad. I might even include the date it went into storage so that you have a good idea of its condition.

7. Create menus that use up your stockpile.

Not having to spend as much on groceries is an added blessing! Some ideas include: spaghetti or pasta dishes, beans and rice, and soups and stews.

What are your best tips to stock-pile for a move?

Lacey is the wife to Kade, mommy to Selah, unashamed coffee addict, and daily recipient of the love of Jesus. She blogs over at Live Loved.

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4 Tips to Avoid a Daily Deal Scam

The following is a guest post from Maggie:

Daily deal sites are amazing, both for the deep discounts and for the new products you can discover through them. But in our rush to take advantage of the wonderful offers, we can sometimes overlook some basic buyer safety practices.

The daily deal format unfortunately makes it easy pickings for fly-by-night scammers offering fraudulent products. Follow these tips to stay safe while scoring hot deals.

1. Use well-respected daily deal sites.

There are countless daily deal sites in operation, with more popping up every day. Stick to those site where you’ve had successful transactions in the past, know someone who has, or have received a recommendation from a blogger you know and trust.

It’s great to support new daily deal start-ups, but make sure they have some sort of track record for delivering on their promises. Check their Facebook wall for a quick gauge of customer satisfaction.

2. Research the company offering the deal.

Most daily deal scams will come from companies offering products through daily deal sites, pocketing the money, and then not delivering. So if you’re purchasing a product from company you’ve never used before, take a minute before purchasing to research the company.

How long has their Facebook page been active, and are there tons of complains on the wall? Do they have a Better Business Bureau profile, and are there any complaints?

Be wary of companies that appear to have just been formed. In five minutes or less, you can get a feel for whether this is a company with a history of good service.

3. Pay through Paypal or other buyer protection service.

Paying through Paypal or something similar gives you a certain measure of safety, should the company never deliver on its promises. Be aware though of the limitations of these payment services. Many require claims or complaints be filed within a certain timeframe, and some (including Paypal) will not refund your money themselves in case of a dispute — they will only attempt to reclaim it from the seller.

4. Make sure you are not charged until the goods ship.

As daily deal veterans know, many daily deal sites issue vouchers that do not include shipping. Thus, when you go to the seller website and actually purchase the product, you sometimes have to issue payment directly to the company to cover shipping charges. When this happens, keep a close eye on when you are actually charged the money.

It is illegal for a company to charge you prior to shipping your order. So if you see a shipping charge on your credit card bill or Paypal statement before you receive a shipment confirmation, it’s a red flag.

Following these simple tips will help you avoid the many different daily deal scams that are out there these days.

Maggie Larche is a daily deal lover and the author of a children’s detective novel that teaches economic concepts, Striker Jones: Elementary Economics for Elementary Detectives. More information on her book is available at her website.

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Family Fitness for Less

Guest post by Lisa

Setting aside space for personal fitness as a busy parent can be a difficult. Time crunched families also long for ways to build meaningful memories and spend time with one another. Why not incorporate both?

Cultivate an attitude of healthy living and teamwork in your family without buying the expensive gym membership. The options are endless, the cost free to minimal, but the memories are irreplaceable.

Adventure Hiking

Hiking paths, walking trails, even city streets can be transformed into an adventure. Try out new places, talk about what you discover, create a scavenger hunt to complete along the charted route. Keep a marked map or a running record, of all the trails your family has traversed.

Visit a Track

Slip on sneakers and scout out your local track. Find a time when no teams are practicing or have an athletic event. Children enjoy trying out all the lanes, running down the long jump, and rolling through the center field grass. While kids burn off energy, parents can fit in steady laps or complete sprint intervals.

Swim Swaps

Pack up the family for a trip to the local pool. If your pool has a splash pad area, settle the kids in. One parent can supervise while the other takes twenty minutes to swim laps, then switch places. End your time together with some massive splashing.

Exercise DVDs

Many local libraries have extensive exercise DVD collections. Be creative with your work-out equipment; children love to lift stuffed animals as weights or use a special blanket as an exercise mat. Kids interpretations are sure to create laughter.

Dig into Sports

Expose your children to many different sports. Compile a master list of all the sports your family wants to try and get moving. Changing things up is fun and helps your children discover the sports they enjoy most.

Ready to play? Run the bases at a local baseball diamond, give the tennis court a try, gang up on Dad to score a soccer goal. Even young family members can work through a Frisbee golf course.

Work with the Seasons

Take full advantage of the opportunities different times of the year present for fitness. Slip on rain boots and take a walk, jump through as many puddles as possible. Water balloon and squirt gun battles that include adults are sure to be a family favorite. Grab some hot cocoa and traverse a corn maze together. If snow comes to your area, bundle up and see how many times your family can climb the nearest sledding hill.

Stretch Imagination in Challenging Weather

When the weather prohibits outdoor activities bring the fun indoors. Take turns creating obstacle courses and completing them. Grab favorite stuffed animals and have them complete silly relay races. Strip all the beds of comforters and pillows, unpack the sleeping bags, and pile them into a heap. Bounce away, all the giggling will make up for the clean up afterward.

These are just a few of the frugal ways your family can stay fit… and create many memories in the process.

What are your best frugal family fun ideas?

Lisa is a freelance writer from Holland, Michigan. Her family seeks to live a life of giving, not excess. Lisa, her husband, and her two children (ages 7 and 4) have tried all these family fitness ideas. They have a lot of fun, laughter and general mishaps together. Adventure hiking is her children’s favorite activity.

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