This year the holidays felt like they came out of nowhere, as I noted in my previous post. Normally, I’m better prepared and have my shopping done by October. Yet even though I dilly dallied, I was still able to save money because I planned for it during the year by taking some extra steps.
If you’re asking, “How did she do it?”, then you asked the right question! Listed below are a few ways that helped me make some extra money and save this year. You can still do these steps to take advantage of the after holiday sales or just to prepare for next year!
1. I joined Swagbucks, an online search engine that rewards you for using their service by giving you virtual money called “swag bucks”. You can make between $2-20 swag bucks per day by using their search engine twice a day. I find that using their search engine in the morning and in the evening nets me the most bucks. These bucks can then be used to purchase items in the Swag Store. I prefer their gift cards (Amazon, RedEnvelope, Alice, Starbucks, iTunes, Barnes & Noble), although the FREE cash is enticing! In fact, during the holidays I redeemed my swag bucks for a few $5 Amazon gift cards, which cost me 45 swagbucks each, and a few $5 RedEnvelope gift cards, which were on sale for 20 Swagbucks each. However, I know of others who trade in their swag bucks for T-shirts, magazines, CDs, DVDs, electronics and more!
This year I redeemed enough swag bucks to get $35 in Amazon e-gift cards and $20 in RedEnvelope e-gift cards. This allowed me to get THREE gifts without spending a dime! I plan to get a few more giftcards now that the after holiday sales are starting to prepare myself for Valentine’s Day.
You can join Swagbucks by using my link and earn 3 swag bucks for signing up. When you sign up under my link, you also support “Latina On a Mission” because I will earn swag bucks too so thank you! Click HERE to join.
2. I conducted a few mystery shops during the months of November and December. Several submit payment directly to my paypal account, while others send checks. I used these funds to get my sons’ winter clothes at Old Navy, taking advantage of their sales.
I’ve also signed up for a few shops this week and later on in January that will not pay me much up front but will reimburse me for my out of pocket expenses. My faves are:
- Lens Crafter Shops- up to $120 reimbursement for eyewear. Note, you can use your insurance card to pay for the glasses and they will still reimburse you for the glasses which means you can actually make $120 for this shop if you have coverage! They also do Pearle Vision and several others. If you’re interested in the eyewear shops, shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com and I’ll send you a referral!
- Movie Shops- reimbursement for 1 ticket, 1 icee, and 1 popcorn, $7-11 to complete the shop
- Restaurant Shops – up to $50+ reimbursement for lunch or $80+ for dinner
- Bowling Shops- up to $100 reimbursement in NYC for 2 people and $15 for completing the shop
I try to select the ones that I would have paid for anyway so even though I am not receiving a huge payment for completing the shop, I am getting reimbursed for an item I would have purchased anyway; thereby cutting my yearly expenses! Click for a list of Mystery Shopper sites.
3. I joined Survey Savvy, an accredited Better Business Bureau company. This year, I did not join as many surveys as I could have since I was a bit overwhelmed at work. Yet I still earned a $100 American Express gift card, $30 in Amazon credit, and about $2 dollars in referrals (50¢ per referral). It may sound like a paltry sum but I was able to use it to purchase 4 gifts by keeping an eye out for sales and using coupons! Click HERE to join.
4. I use coupons for anything and everything! I know some people who are still a little embarrassed to use coupons, however, its become chic to be cheap! Coupons are the New York Black! If you haven’t checked out coupons.com, I highly suggest you do so by clicking HERE. You can also download coupons whenever you need any by going to my blog and clicking on the link found on the right-hand sidebar that states: New coupons every month for Rite-Aid, Walgreens, groceries, necessities, medicine, toys and more! They currently have a few great coupons to help you bring in the New Year. I noted the a few I thought were worthwhile below.
- John Frieda Luxurious Volume Products – Save $2.50
- Garnier Nutritionista Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller- Save $2 (I use this one religiously for puffy eyes!)
- Little Debbies- Save 75¢
- Pillsbury- Save $1 on two
- General Mills Cereal- Save 75¢
- Malt O Meal Cereals- Save 75¢
- Dr. Scholls Insoles- Save $2 (I love these!)
- Alka Seltzer- Save $1 and your head after the New Year’s festivities with this one!
- Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller- Save $2 and look Latinalicious! (I LOVE this eye roller and use it myself!)
5. Enter giveaways! Giveaways are a great way to try out a new product without having to spend the money beforehand. I’ve joined a few this year and am glad I did. I’ve won toiletries, books, toys/clothes for the boys, and even a N-Fini Shapewear Strapless Dress Girdle, valued at $129.95! Not only did I win, but so did the companies! Why? Because I was so happy with the products I received that I couldn’t stop raving to my friends, co-workers and family. I know a few of them went out and brought the same products on my recommendations and I am happy they did. I have to admit I also purchased a few more myself! You can join any of my giveaways shown on the right hand side of my blog or you can join other bloggers’ giveaways by clicking HERE.