There are many ways to earn point rewards. There a click sites, sites to watch videos, and sites where you get rewarded to use a search engine. Most of them also have ways to help you spend your points before they become rewards, but that isn’t the point of point rewards when you are a Thrifty Diva. Here is how I avoid overspending my reward points.
Sweepstakes are a great way to gamble away all your points a little bit at a time. You start out spending a few points here or there to get 25,000 points. The only problem is unless you win you don’t get anything. The alternative is to keep saving up those points for a reward that you are certain to get.
The Best Offer For Use
When it comes to my Bing Rewards I used to get five dollar gift certificates for 475 points. I could have gotten fifteen dollar gift certificates, but they were for stores that I didn’t shop at. What I finally settled on was spending 420 reward points on a month free for Hulu Plus. That meant we could get rid of our Netflix Subscription, still have our television entertainment, and not have the price of it come out of our budget. Not only that, I spent less points on my reward enabling me to get more for my reward points.
Be Picky With Offers
I only choose the offers that are free, but my definition of free may be different from others. If an offer pays out at least an equivalent amount of points to the cost of an offer, that’s free to me. If it costs less it’s not free. If I need to pay shipping and handling it’s not free, but if the point rewards are more than shipping and handling charges, it’s free. In short, unless I’m breaking even or making a profit I won’t use an offer.
What are your favorite reward points sites?
Yay! We have made it to the week of Christmas, but we still have a few people to shop for. We still need to wrap gifts…and send out cards…and get to the very busy post office. It is the season crunch time and there is still so much to do. Here are a few ideas to keep the stress down while finishing your holiday chore list.
Wrap For Donation
There are charity organizations, such as pet shelters, that offer wrapping for a donation. You can choose the amount you are willing to pay for their service. You get your presents wrapped without stressing out. You don’t have to buy the stuff to wrap presents yourself, or at least , you don’t have to buy quite as much as you would have. Plus, knowing your money goes to a good cause is just an added bonus.
Buy Gifts In Bulk
Places like Sam’s Club or Costco have items such as gourmet hot chocolate as several boxes packaged together. There are some packages that come with up to twelve types of tea in their own decorative tins. If you are still searching for gifts for a number of friends get one of these packages and break them down to the individual box or tin. Stick a bow and card on them and give them out to your friends. It will save you both time and money and you will still be able to get your friends’ gifts out in time for Christmas.
I know it seems impersonal to give gift cards, but consider the benefits. It’s likely that you haven’t a clue what to get most of the people that you have put off buying a present for. When giving a gift card you know they will be able to get something that they will like. Buying gift cards is also a good way to stay in budget. Often at the last minute we are in such a hurry to get a gift for someone, we spend more than we should. Gift cards are for a specified denomination of money. You don’t need to worry about going over budget too much.
We all want to be able to give our children some of the things that they want, but often it seems we find ourselves saying no instead. Here are a few ways to say yes that won’t break the bank.
Children that watch a lot of television end up watching a lot of commercials. They watch commercials for cereal, toys, theme parks, and movies. For the most part children don’t know they are being manipulated to bug mom and dad to buy these items for them. They only know that the toys, theme parks, and movies entertain them. They want the sugary goodness that comes with that brand name marshmallow cereal.
The funny thing is without the advertisements the product loses its power over your children. You could take them down the cereal section of the grocery store and buy generic healthy cereal and your children won’t even blink. Get a Netflix account. It costs less than ten dollars a month. You also determine what television programs your children watch. Which shows have more merchandise on store shelves? Which are educational programs? What franchises are you willing to invest in? These things are in your control. The more you take that control the less you will have to say no to your children about purchases without giving in to something that is overly expensive or inappropriate.
Make it at Home
There a many craft supplies and toys that can be made at home. For example, I have found recipes online for silly putty, sculpting clay, finger paint, and play dough. Keep a file of these recipes and when your child asks for one of those products tell them yes. Let them know that you are able to make the item at home and will do so. Make sure you follow through with your commitment to your child. Without following through you child will learn it’s just easier to buy the item than wait for it to be made as promised. Invite your child to help make the item. This saves money for you and teaches your child not to buy something they can make themselves at a lower cost.
Delayed Gratification and Choice
Teaching a child delayed gratification works especially well with a choice attached to it. For example, let’s say the family may be planning an outing. Choose a definite day that this outing will be happening in the future and let the family decide together on where you will be going. Treat delayed gratification as something to look forward to rather than something to wait for.
Exercise shouldn’t cost as much as it does. There are a number of franchises dedicated to getting in shape. There are gym memberships, DVDs, and exercise machines and equipment. The secret these companies don’t want you to realize is that you don’t need any of these things to get in shape.
Contrary to what you may have been told you don’t need a yoga mat to practice yoga. You don’t need blocks and you don’t need the belt. You don’t even need yoga pants. What you do need is instruction and you can get that free at doyogawithme.com. If you feel the need to see your yoga space, use a blanket instead and if you want to be on a block use two equally thick books or a folded blanket. The more you progress however, the less you will need these items. The only reason you may need a mat at home is if you have slippery floors.
If you have kids one of the best ways to lose weight is to play with them. Many schools that have been underfunded for a physical education class know the value of basic exercises like jumping jacks, push ups, and sit ups. They also know the value of getting children to play games with each other. Go outside and play tag and red rover. Find bleachers to climb together. Not only will you keep in shape, your children will have a first hand example on being physically fit. It will also teach them that physical fitness is fun, not a chore.
The most basic exercises often are the best. Many people get a thrill from walking or running. Pick a time you enjoy and a place that is public and pretty. Have a partner to share the experience with, or compete with. The only items you may need for walking and running is a pair of sneakers and clothing that breathes.
There are many ways to cut corners when it comes to household costs. My favorites are finding a use for something that I already have. I don’t need to buy an extra item and I get more use out of the items I have. It reduces clutter and increases the room in my shopping cart.
The Fridge Instead of Dry Erase Boards
If you have a standard white fridge don’t buy a dry erase board. Dry erase crayon and marker comes off of your standard white fridge just fine. It’s also a high traffic area so it’s very likely that if you leave a message for a family member on it, they will get the message. For our shorter family members it’s a treat to be able to write on the fridge and only takes a wet cloth to wipe away. You can draw a calendar on your freezer door or write down emergency numbers for the babysitter. It’s a great way to get more use out of your fridge.
The Cleaning Sponge Instead of Wash Cloths and Loofahs
Sponges were made for cleaning and that includes your body. They absorb more than enough soap and water to get your skin clean. If you want to exfoliate use the ones (lightly and gently) that have a the green scrubbing pad on one side. They come in a variety of colors so that you can tell each family member’s sponge from another. If the color system doesn’t appeal to you, you could just get a six pack of sponges and cut them into different shapes for a useful kids crafts. They will love their custom sponge and you will love using the leftovers as cleaning supplies.
Cook Wear Instead of Mixing Bowls
This is a great tip for those with limited cupboard space in their kitchen. Don’t get mixing bowls. Instead use pots to mix up your cookie dough, or mix ingredients for your latest casserole recipe. Your cookware will work just as well as mixing bowls and using them saves both money and space.
Most of the time to save money means to not spend it on frivolous items and getting rid of clutter. Other times it means to invest in very useful items and keeping things on file. Here are a few helpful tips in line with the latter school of thought.
Fire and smoke detectors don’t cost very much, but are often over looked when it comes to being prepared. They not only can save lives, they can save money. The more your family is prepared the less likely your insurance will deny your claim should the worst happen. Make sure your detector is functioning properly and has batteries. Also consider getting a carbon monoxide detector. Check on Amazon. There are various CO detectors for any budget. They can save your family’s life and save on medical expenses.
Last but not least, if it’s in your budget, consider getting a security system. The sign in your yard by itself has been known to deter those who would break in. For those extra bold individuals who would break into your home it notifies your security company who will in turn notify the police. It will cost less than replacing things in your home that have been broken or stolen.
Phone numbers are the first numbers that come to mind when it comes to saving money. Calling a store or company with a question is far more cost effective than making a trip across town to do the same thing. Even if you end up needing to go to their location, your time will be saved because the details of your visit have been taken care of over the phone. Also keep medical numbers, roadside assistance numbers, and family numbers on hand. These will save you money in emergency situations.
Confirmation numbers are the second numbers to keep around. When you pay a bill over the phone always write down your confirmation number of that payment on the bill and then file it. If you ever need to prove you have already paid a bill, your bill and confirmation number will be at your fingertips. You could also use your bank statements in a pinch if you need to. Without proof of payment, however, you may end up paying the same bill more than once.
Contracts of Service
Another item you need to keep on file are service agreements. Did you agree to a data limit on your internet? Are you stuck in the contract for a specified amount of time? Are you entitled to free maintenance? All these questions can be answered in your service contract. The same goes with your lease. Will you be fined for hanging things off your balcony? Your lease should be able to tell you.
Crafting with children doesn’t have to be expensive. Most paints, play dough, and even crayons can be made at home. There are other things in our homes that make great crafting supplies. Unfortunately many of them get thrown away. The next time you throw out one of these items stop and think about its crafting potential.
Milk cartons are great for making bird feeders or making a planter. They are sturdy enough to be hung from a balcony or tree. The are fun to paint and easy to poke or cut holes in. If you have the type with the twist cap top, that part can be used as a funnel when filling other items. A carton with top cut off can even be used as a storage container for craft supplies like paint brushes, colored pencils, chalk, and crayons.
Soda bottles can also be made into bird feeders and planters, but they are more versatile than that. They can be cut as scoops, with the top as a handle. They can be taped together top to top to make the soda bottle whirl pool. This can be made even more fun by adding a few drops of your favorite color to the water in your bottles. With a little paper mache, paint, and a pair of scissors they can even be made into creative piggy banks.
A cereal box can be turned into a robot with toilet paper roll arms and legs. If you cut them up you can use them to create buildings and props in shoe box dioramas of farms, cities, or what ever your heart desires. Or you can use the inside of boxes to create bedroom signs or create homemade picture frames. Toilet paper or paper towel rolls can be cut to create play dough cookie cutters or rolling pins.
Egg cartons are a good way to store an egg shaped amount of play dough without mixing the colors. They are also a great way to separate and store paints you are using during crafting for a quick clean up.
Saved and cleaned up jars are great for jar gifts, storing homemade laundry soap, and other jar crafts. Just clean them out and keep the lid. Take off the label and whatever adhesive was holding it on. Decorate them as you see fit and use them in your jar craft the next time you use one.
Most women love to treat their hair with luxury. Wisely, not all of us want to spend the money for a regular salon routine when it comes to our hair. Luckily we don’t have to. There are alternatives to high cost hair care and most of them can be found in our fridge, cupboard, or in our local grocery stores.
Skip the shampoo and just use baking soda and water. Really it’s that simple and is great for your hair.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a great rinse and conditioner. Due to its acidity it has a way of pulling gunk out of your hair. It leaves hair soft and manageable. It also has a great plus for those of us with brown hair. It brings out the red highlights in their hair. All three of these advantages are natural for those who are trying to remove some chemicals from their hair routines.
Corn meal can be used as a dry shampoo in a pinch. If you do a lot of camping, are having water issues at home, or are just out of shampoo, you can use corn meal to absorb the oils in your hair and give you an extra day or so before shampooing.
If you want to use a less amount of conditioner, then try using a shower comb. It helps to distribute conditioner throughout your hair. A shower comb also helps remove loose hair and reduces the chances of knots and broken hair.
A blended up avocado mixed with some mayonnaise is said to repair damaged hair. Use a comb to distribute the concoction through your hair and leave it to sit for ten minutes. After that just wash the mixture out of your hair.