Swagbucks – Earn Money Online

17th Street BlessingsSo here are some hints and tips to earning Swagbucks!

If you have not signed up, here is my referral link- www.swagbucks.com/refer/allie8302

Every day there are a few things you can do to earn Swagbucks:

-Print coupons! These are the same coupons that are available on Coupons.com. If you print them though Swagbucks, you get ten bucks for each coupon you redeem. It takes several weeks to come back but eventually they do.

-Explore the “Daily Deals.” If you are going to buy a Groupon or deal from Living Social, go through Swagbucks and you can earn bonus bucks!

-Download the toolbar (click Discover on the top of the Swagbucks homepage, then Extension). Each day when you open your browser 1 buck!

-On the left side of the home page do the “NOSO” 2 bucks and the “Daily Poll” 1 buck every day!

-Install Swagbucks search engine plugin. This will make Swagbucks an option when doing a quick search in the upper right corner of your browser window. Other search engines will still be available. The plugin can be found at this link.

-Watch “Swagbucks TV” and earn bucks. Watch the percentage meter. You will earn 10% for each video and when you reach 100% you earn 3 bucks. You can earn up to 150 bucks each day. If you have the toolbar you can watch TV through that.

-Hunt for codes, these pop up in different places and are usually time-sensitive. The should appear in the “Check for Swag Code” box on the toolbar. Just copy & paste (hit control+c to copy and control+v to paste).

-Watch the “cards” on the homepage. Offers pop up here, some require sensitive information, some are just to watch a short video or enter a contest.

-There is also a “Daily Goal.” Every day Swagbucks sets a goal for everyone. If you hit the goal you get a 10% bonus. If the goal is 70, then the bonus is 7 bucks. And if you get a certain number of days in a row, you get bonus’s for that to. They have a second goal now, it is usually quite a bit more. Bonus’s are awarded at the beginning of the month for the previous month.

-“Like” Swagbucks on Facebook. (Code hints will often appear in the status updates) You can also connect your Facebook profile to your Swagbucks account. This will post a message on your wall each time you earn Swagbucks or earn a prize!

-Complete Surveys under “Answer” then “Paid Surveys” on the homepage. Each time I qualify for a survey, I go back to the SB page and copy the survey number, that way if there is a problem with getting the bucks, you can contact customer service to see what happened. Also, often you can be disqualified from surveys, and for up to 5 each day you earn 1 buck each.

-Tell your friends! You can find you referral link on the left side with blue “Invite Friends” box. Copy & paste this to your Facebook profile or send it out in emails. You can earn 10% for life on each referral.

-You can also do “Tasks” under “Answer” on the homepage. Let me know if you figure how to earn bucks doing this, I haven’t!

On your birthday Swagbucks will email you with 50 bonus birthday bucks. Just click through the email to redeem!

-Under “Discover” on the homepage is an option “Special Offers.” There are often quick easy offers in this tab, it will take you to a page with six tabs (often referred to by short hand – TrialPlay is TP) where there are all sorts of offers, some are paid and some are free. There is a Facebook page “Offers That Credit” that can help with Special Offers. The people there will post if they find an offer that credits instantly, or has a special trick to get it to work.

-For websites you visit every day, if you take the step of searching for them instead of just typing them in or clicking a bookmark, you have the chance of winning Swagbucks.

-There is much more! Click around Swagbucks home page to see what offers you qualify for, or want to participate in. Some offers “require participation.” Make sure you read the fine print for these offers!

-Every Friday is Mega Swagbucks day. You have a greater chance of earning and the denominations are often higher when you search on Friday!

-Usually on Mondays, they will have Swag Code Hunt days where they release multiple codes throughout the day (and sometimes night!). These are usually announced on Facebook or in the Swagbucks blog.

-Also you can download the Swagbucks app. It will alert you when there is a code.

-There are six Swagbucks apps. SBTV, LifeStylzTV, EntertianNow, SportyTV, IndyMusic and MovieCl.ips. The key to these is to find a short video and then make it a “Favorite” by swiping left on the title (when you are looking at the list of clips). Then when you play that app, choose your favorites list, and it will play your short clips over and over.

You can check your earnings and referrals by clicking on your picture in the upper right corner then you can view your “Ledger” (list of what you have earned) and the “Referrals” are in there to.

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My Favorite Things

Since Christmas is just around the corner (4 weeks!! Ah!) I thought I would put together a list of some of my favorite things I have bought or received. Some things make my life easier, some are organizational (perfect for this type-a girl!) and some for my kids.

All the links are for Amazon.com, you receive free shipping on most items when you spend $35 (the just raised it from $25, what a bummer!) and you I usually use gift cards earned through Swagbucks. I have earned $375 in Amazon.com gift cards in 2013! Amazon prices can change at any time!

Please note these are affiliate links, I receive a small commission if you purchase through my links, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and always honest! Thank you for supporting Couponing In Birdland!

 

This OXO Good Grips V-Blade Mandoline Slicer was recommended by America’s Test Kitchen. I have not been unhappy with any recipe or product they recommend. It is on most Saturdays on PBS, I have my DVR set to record every episode! Unfortunately, their website is by subscription, and that is extra money we just don’t have. What I like about this slicer is that it will adjust to different thickness, what I don’t like about it is cleaning it, but I have never heard of a self-cleaning slicer! But I still enjoy the show every week! Right now it is $39.99.Check out these RSVP Endurance Spice Measuring Spoon Set. They are super skinny, so they will reach down into the spice containers! I am not sure who thought of this, but they are a genius! Dumping cinnamon into a 1/2 tsp is nearly impossible, but with these you can just put the spoon right down into the bottle.  They are heavy duty, I have had them for about a year, and they have held up great. Right now they are $13.95.

This one is a little pricy. I saved up for several months and it has been a great investment. My Excalibur Dehydrator has been wonderful for fruits, veggies, herbs, and we use it most for beef jerky. This is the 4 drawer model, and someday I might upgrade to the bigger 9 tray model. Right now it is $114.98

Next, a more economical gift idea, the Misto Gourmet Olive Oil Sprayer. This thing is so nifty! You just put whatever kind of oil you want (mine currently contains extra virgin olive oil) and pump a few times, then spray away!  I had been trying to be more “green” when I picked the Misto up a few years ago, and it has really stuck with me, I used it this morning when I made my kids muffins. Right now it is $10.21 on Amazon, but I believe I have seen it on the shelf with the pans & utensils at Giant Eagle (I think it was closer to $15).

Now, if you want to be impressive when going to a pot-luck, this is what you need! It is a Rachael Ray Expandable Lasagna Lugger. It has two pockets to hold 9″x13″ casserole dishes! (It does not come with any 9″x13″ pans) Or you can put one 9″x13″ dish in the bottom, and your spoon, recipe, topping, ect on the top. It would make a great wedding present! They also have it in Rachael’s color Orange. Currently it is $31.49.
Another America’s Test Kitchen recommendation was the RT600C Super-fast Digital Thermometer. This was the “economical” recommendation (this is the one they really recommend). I like the $19 on better! This works great, and i have had it for over two years and I think I have replaced the batteries 2 or 3 times (it takes the little button batteries, they are not cheap). The batteries and the fact that it doesn’t turn itself off are two drawbacks, but over all I have really enjoyed and used this product. I think two of the new batteries were required because I left it on! Sells for $19.
This is a product I just bought a few weeks ago, Infuser Water Bottle. I was SO surprised at how good the strawberry water was! I haven’t had a ton of time to play around with it yet, but I  have really liked it so far. I even used frozen strawberries and it was better than the fresh! Also, I like that they bottle is 27 oz, that is pretty big! It still fits in my cup holder. The only drawback I have found, when you drink all the water, it is a bit top heavy and will tip, but it doesn’t spill or leak, so sometimes i just set it upside down! Currently it is $15.39.

Do you have a collection of spice jars that pile up, get knocked over, or are just generally unorganized? When I found this organizer I was so excited! My spices had been the pit of my pantry!  The YouCopia Super SpiceStack is wonderful. It can hold the itty bitty (expensive!) McCormick bottles, or the big $.50 Spice Sensations bottles. And I have filled my first one, so I will be saving up for a second one. Currently it is $39. (I know that little picture says $54, but 24 bottle model is $39.)

This next one might just be me, but for the number of times I have loaned it out to friends, maybe not! The Cupcake Courier is a great tool for birthday parties. It holds 36 cupcakes (most hold 24) and if you make a cake that is tall, you can take out the trays and put it in there. Currently it is $36 for one shade of yellow and $49 for the other shade of yellow (really Amazon?).
If you have small kids (say under 10) you probably have a pile of Melissa & Doug products in your home. Several years ago my mom bought these sets for my kids for the kids for Christmas, and they play with them all the time. Any Melissa & Doug product is welcome in my home! They last, and the kids love them!

Do you have a golfer in your life? Check out the Samsonite Golf Trunk Organizer. I bought this trunk organizer to replace the Sterlite bin in the back of my Dad’s van and he really liked it. It has compartments for shoes, balls, tees, and other golf-y things. Currently it is $31.99.

Oh where is my hairbrush?! (Just me, ok nevermind!) Next is a hair brush, but not just any hair brush. The Goody Quick Style Paddle Brush is a very cool brush. It helps dry your hair while you brush! And it actually works! I don’t use a hairdryer, I just let my hair dry on it’s own (my 4 year old is unimpressed when I do my hair!). I saw this in a magazine and couldn’t wait to try it out. Very cool! Currently it is $8.37.

This was a gift for my husband. We had one of those big tea makers, but he was the only one that drank it, and the pitcher got stained (and eventually smelly!). This 24 oz Takeya Tea Maker has been perfect. He can make his own cup, and none is wasted. The mesh on the filter is very delicate, and we have managed to be very careful with it and it hasn’t gotten any tears. The pitcher also comes clean and hasn’t retained any odors like the last one we had. Currently $19.99.

Next is a winter must-have Quirky Thor. I have gone through quite a few cheap scrapers since I started driving at sixteen. Last year, I found this one and it has been the best! It almost made me excited to see frost on my van (almost!). This is my second winter using it and I have been very pleased. The only drawback- I left it sitting on the floor of my van and my boy scraped up his ankle tripping over it. Now it lives way in the back or on the floor in the very front. Currently it is $20.37.

Ok, are you still with me?! Last one I promise! And this is a BIG one!  I saved and saved and asked for cash at Christmas and saved and saved for this one. My KitchenAid. Oh my mixer, if it is possible to love a kitchen appliance, I might just love my mixer. I did a ton of research before purchasing this mixer, most people have the Artisan Series, but I had a 5 qt Sunbeam stand mixer, and the bowl was just not big enough. So onto the 6 qt Pro-Series. Also in my research I discovered that the Artisan series have plastic gears, but when you upgrade to the Pro-6, you get all metal, and that appealed to me. Another difference is the top does not lean back, but the bowl goes up & down. No biggie to me, though that was one complaint I read. Alas, at our house now I do not have the counter space to display my mixer, BUT when we build on our land (hopefully this spring!) I will be able to leave it out on the counter. The biggest drawback (beside that it is expensive) is the thing is so heavy!

They also have two accessory kits (that will fit any KitchenAid mixer).  The KitchenAid Slicer/Shredder Attachment and the KitchenAid Fruit and Vegetable Strainer and Food Grinder. I have both, the Fruit & Vegetable strainer I use frequenly to make applesauce and jam or jelly. The Slicer/Shredder not so much, if you have a Food Processor it basically does the same thing, without lugging out the big mixer.

 

Is there anything on Amazon that I should add to my wish list for Christmas?

Parent Hack for Vacations

My mom sent me this idea a few years ago and it has been just so helpful! I have a 6 year old boy and 4 year old girl. We like to travel, and usually make it to the beach once a year, and occasionally we get to go in my Grandma’s RV.

It is very simple, before vacation head out to buy some generic zip top bags. Then you can put one day of clothes for each kiddo in each bag (one bag for each day, unless you are going to do laundry on your trip and re-load the bags).  We are headed to Virgina to see my brother and his family for Thanksgiving, so my kids each put out a stack of clothes to travel down in, then I helped them load four bags, each one with a shirt, pants, underwear and socks. If you have fancy girls, you can even add in headbands and other accessories (my girlie runs with the boys to much to care about fancy things!).

Pic 1I had each of them make four stacks, then we loaded up the bags.

Pic 2Then (since it is a short trip) all the bags went into a shared suitcase. The only thing loose is the jammies. Now when we are on vacation each morning the kids will each grab a bag and get dressed! It makes packing and getting dressed on vacation so much easier!

Pic 3As you can see, the only one that got folded nice was the one I took pictures of. Hopefully my son won’t mind you all seeing his Sponge-Bob undies and mis-matched superhero socks.

See you next week when we get back!

Did you know you can “Pin” this post to your Pinterest boards? Just click “Pin It” right below this text! Thanks!

Wood Burner!

Well today we got good news and bad news! Good news was for $60 we had the wood burner inspected and it is good to go! The inspector just suggested a paint job since the top is a bit rusty. Bad news, that room where the wood burner is, the roof is shot totally and leaking. So the ceiling in that room has to come down. When Mr. Visionary went to put a small hole in it to see what needed to be fixed, he discovered the plaster was about 3″ away from the lath, and could collapse at any time. So when I left (allergies were kicking up and Princess was having a not-so-regal morning) he was tearing out the ceiling.

17th Street BlessingsThankfully, we had scheduled a company to come take out all the junk in Princess’s room and hopefully for a few bucks more they will haul away all the ceiling materials from the front room.

Two Weeks of Work

We have gotten a ton of work done the last two weeks. We cleaned Lego Man’s room and the master bedroom and we started painting both rooms. Mr. Visionary pressure washed the basement and garage and also painted half the garage floor (we have already started putting junk in there, so we have to move it to paint the other half!). Also Mr. Visionary went to an auction a while back and purchased a full set of kitchen cabinets (before we had a house, does his nickname make sense?) and his oldest brother came over and helped get them from our neighbors basement to our new place.

17th St Blessings1

On the left is our family helping demo the kitchen. Top right is Mr. Visionary’s dad in the kitchen and bottom right is the empty kitchen.

The biggest progress was finishing busting out the old kitchen. The previous owners had installed a wood slat ceiling and it was starting to collapse and the false wall they put in to run plumbing through from upstairs was poorly done. It all had to come out. Thankfully Mr. Visionary’s dad, middle brother and our three nephews came over to help. I don’t think I’ve met three more industrious and hard working boys, and when you tell a 6, 10 and 12 year old to go ahead and bust out a wall, they go to town!

17th St Blessings 2

This trio of pictures needs some explaining. First is a picture of some friends who helped paint the master bedroom. We are SO thankful for them!

Middle is the TERRIBLE fake brick that I thought we were going to have to live with on 2 walls in our living room. But we had the idea to just drywall right over it! YAY!!! Taking it out would have been just to much work (we realized after demoing the kitchen) and this is an excellent compromise!

Last picture is something that would probably get us turned into CPS. But I firmly believe that within reason, kids can be kids, and kids can help and be involved. Lego Man, my nephew and Princess were helping trim our apple tree.

So with about two weeks worth of work under our belt, we are gearing up to keep on trucking. Short term goals include painting the basement (so we can start moving items each time we go to the house), finishing painting and take out the carpet in Lego Man’s room and the master, drywall in the living room over the fake brick, and getting my new kitchen done!

We are praising God for all the work that has been done, the willingness of our friends & family to step in and give up free time to help.

These are the Bible verses I’ve been thinking on this week, they are the key verses for our Jr & Sr high kids at church who are at camp this week:

Hebrews 12:1-2

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight,
and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

From the Beginning

FilesI think it is a good idea to start from the beginning of our adventures on 17th Street.  Several years ago we purchased property with Mr. Visionary’s brother and his family with plans to build.  As we got closer to building, it became very clear that it was not God’s plan for us. Mr. Visionary wanted  to do the subcontracting himself to save money and since he has never done it before, we only had once choice for a loan, and they offered us a terrible loan with sky-high variable interest rates and 8k+ in closing costs. When we made the decision not to build, we were both oddly at peace. We discussed how surprised we both were at how ‘ok’ we both felt about not building, God had definitely given us each a clear peace about the situation.

So a “For Sale” sign went up at the land and we started house hunting.  We found several that we liked, but they kept going into a sale pending status before we could get a second look. Then we found the house on 17th Street and we both really liked it! It sure was ugly, and a little smelly, but we could see the potential. So we put an offer in, a low low offer (since it was a bank owned home). This offer was rejected, then the house was pulled off the market so the bank could “re-asses” the home since the bank had received several low offers. Our realtor called us when it was back on the market and we put in another (higher but not full price) offer. A few days later the realtor called us back and said their were multiple offers, and to make our best offer. So we offered full price. All through this process our emotions were just such a wreck, it was up and down. Our realtor seemed to think that our final offer was high enough, he told us he thought we would get it. We were making plans, a bathroom here, laundry there, our kitchen cabinets would fit well.

About a week (or eternity to us!) we got a call from the realtor, the other offer was cash, and the bank took the cash offer over our offer (we need a conventional loan). We were crushed! All the plans we had, the timing, I was asking God, can this be right? It must be a mistake! I had many faithful friends tell me that God had more for us, he was keeping us from something, that there is a house for us out there, we just needed to be patient. They were right of course, God is always faithful (and I am thankful for faith-filled friends).

It was still hard, we couldn’t imagine another house for us. We took a few weeks off from even looking. Then we made an appointment to see a house, and when we got there you could see three (3!!) biker bars from the front picture window. And when Mr. Visionary checked out the basement he said it was caving in. Yikes, a total no-go for us.

Then we went to see a house that was about 150 years old, it was a crazy maze inside, you couldn’t tell where the kitchen should be, the bathroom was insane, oh it was a mess. We didn’t have the 100k that the house needed to get it back in shape.

Next we found out about a house that was in a different area than we wanted, but was a big house, with a two car garage, and about an acre of land. I went to go see it and liked it, then we went back as a couple. Turns out it is a historic home in the area, and we liked it. But then the realtor did not bring the paperwork to put in an offer, and this realtor was all around strange. She constantly was telling us how she has “been in the business for 20 years” but she just didn’t act like it. I am not sure if something was off in her life at that time, or what was going on. Mr. Visionary and I looked at each other, and we walked out without putting in an offer.

That was probably our lowest point, just feeling dejected and defeated. Mr. Visionary’s mom had Lego Man and Princess so we decided to head out and drive past a house that a co-worked had told him about. On our way back, we had to go right past the 17th Street house, so we decided to see what was going on over there.  We had not been able to forget about this house, even though it seemed like a clear no from God.

When we pulled up there was a man mowing the lawn. We flagged him down and asked if he owned the home. He said no and Mr. Visionary asked him if the owner had bought it to live in or to flip? The lawn guy said flip, so we asked for the new owners phone number. Mr. Visionary called him and while chatting he said he offered the bank 11k less than what we did, no one could believe they took his offer over ours. We discussed it and decided to offer the new owner 5k over everything he had spent (closing costs, ect) providing he did not touch the house (no changes or improvements). The new owner said he had been flipping houses for a while, and had never had a call or offer like this one and that it was an offer he couldn’t turn down. So we said, “So don’t turn us down!” and he called the next day and said yes! So it turns out what we thought was a ‘no’ from God was really a ‘not right now.’

And now, the work begins. There is a ton of ripping out, updating, cleaning and painting that needs to be done. I will keep you updated as the house progresses!

Cleaning Eggs

A few years ago we started a new way to encourage our kiddos to clean up their room independently. At the time they were 3 and 5, and it was such a headache convincing them to clean up their toys, I really felt like Mama Bear with a big box, ready to throw away any toys that were left strewn about. I got angry, they got upset, oh it was just all bad.Couponing In Birdland Eggs

So I devised the “Egg System.” (I really haven’t come up with a better name than that) When it is time for the kids to clean their room, they always ask, “Can we do the eggs?” Start with an empty egg carton and a dozen plastic eggs. Then what I do is put a dime in each egg. You can adjust the reward to your kids, it could be each egg is worth 5 minutes past bedtime, or some other creative reward. Right now my 4 and 6 year old are content with the dimes, so we are sticking with it!

When my kids were very small, I organized their room so that toys all had their own bin, and I laminated a picture label for each bin. Then when it was time to clean up, I would push all the mess to the middle, making a pile, and put all the bins back on the shelves. That way the kids just had to pick up toys from the pile and put them in the correct bin. Now that they are older, they can handle much more by themselves.

Then, when it is time to clean their room (usually I do this once a week, but we don’t have a set schedule) I pull out my kitchen timer and set it for 5 minutes. Each kid starts with 6 eggs, after 5 minutes if the room is not clean (it never is!) I take away one egg from each kid and set the timer for another 5 minutes. Then once the room is clean, however many eggs are left, they get to keep the money in those eggs. They are often left with 2-3 dimes. I am probably going to have to upgrade to quarters soon!

Couponing In BirdlandNow, I don’t always pay my kids for contributing to our family, they are often asked to clean, take out trash, help with dishes, and whatever age appropriate task is needed to be done (without any pay). And every once in a while I have them clean their room without the benefit of the eggs, I don’t want them to think that they should get paid for every little thing they do. But I do think it is important to teach them about money, how to work hard to earn a paycheck, and how to budget and spend money, and this helps with those skills.

I am personally *just terrible* at keeping up with sticker charts and things like that. This is something that requires no continuous upkeep, and it still motivates my kiddos after almost two years.  And if money rewards are not your style, there are lots of other rewards you can use! You could equate a certain number of eggs to a parent-child date night, or time with electronics.

So what works for your family? Are you one that can keep up with sticker charts? (You have my envy!) Or is there something else that works well?

This post contains affiliate links. That just means if you purchase through my links I receive a small amount back. Thanks for supporting Couponing In Birdland & Beyond!