Sometimes I feel like the biggest failure ever when it comes it saving money on purchases. I’m terrible at couponing; I never know where to look for coupons, and even when I have a coupon, I’m bad about letting them go to waste, or forgetting to bring them when I shop. I hate thrift stores. I try to comparison shop, especially for large items, but I often feel like a failure there too.
The reality is, I do the best at keeping a handle on my money when I make it as simple and foolproof as possible. I’m trying to get better at not wasting money. But I’m also trying not to fall into the trap of spending to save.
Last October, I posted about how I was saving money and preparing for the Holidays. Of course, that post was made before my nephew was stillborn and my Grandma passed away, when I had the best of intentions of doing the Holidays right. Life never seems to go the way you plan. And I’ll admit to being incredibly guilty of throwing money at life’s problems, with the hope that it will somehow lessen them. Just having a plan, and money saved in advance, helped keep the overall (financial) damage under control. But I didn’t follow through with some of my plans: I didn’t maximize my rewards at The Body Shop. And the Swagbucks surveys became an idea of the past.
Of course, I still had the Swagbucks browser loaded to my computer, and would earn points here and there from searching for random things. It wasn’t adding up to much though. That is, until I discovered that you can earn points through booking travel!
I knew that using Swagbucks for online shopping would rack up points much quicker. But, I’m not a big online shopper. Sure, I occasionally will buy something that I can’t find locally. I earned some point buying seeds from Burpee. And when I purchased the 21 Day Fix program. But it wasn’t until I went to book our getaway last November that I realized you can earn points booking through Travelocity, Expedia and Priceline. Sometimes you can even earn points booking directly with Hotels.
The points you earn vary, depending on when you make the purchase: I’ve seen anywhere from 2 points per $1 spent, to 8 points per $1. Sometimes it’s even a flat amount of points per booking. I was diligent about comparing booking prices both through Swagbucks and through a computer where the browser wasn’t loaded. I know they SAY it doesn’t change the price, but I’ve run into referral programs where places actually will raise the price to offset the added cost to them, so now I always try to check to make sure I’m not paying more.
When I booked our hotel in Biloxi for our vacation in early March, I was able to earn 8 points per $1. On top of that, I found a coupon on Swagbucks that enabled me to save another $90! So far, I’ve been able to redeem $85 in gift cards from the Swagbucks I’ve earned. I’ve used the monthly promotion of 2,200 Swagbucks for a $25 gift card three times so far, plus 1,000 Swagbucks for a $10 gift card. I’ve been leery to let the points sit in my account for too long, just in case they lose value at some point.
If you aren’t a big online shopper, it can take a while to earn points. And it’s a little annoying that all of the gift cards are e-cards (as far as I know). I’d love to be able to give out physical gift cards as presents. I’ve loaded gift cards from Target onto a mobile app on my phone, which makes them easier to use (especially given that I’m not a big online shopper). A few times I’ve considered buying plastic gift cards with the e-cards in the store, but I’m not sure that’s allowed. So instead, I’ve been using the cards to stretch my budget for items like clothing, and other wants I don’t really want to spend “my money” on.
Are you using Swagbucks? Are there tips that help you earn more points? Have you earned points on travel?
- Cindy W.
The link to Swagbucks is a referral link. If you click on it and sign up for Swagbucks, I’ll earn points. Right now, this blog is earning $0. Since it costs me around $100 each year to run the blog, I’m hopeful that someday it might at least earn its keep!