Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How I'm Planning For A Debt-Free Christmas

If you've been a reader here for a while, you know I've mentioned that I set some goals this year.  One of those goals is to spend $0 at Christmas.  Generally speaking, I don't like to spend money.  I don't mind buying a birthday gift or fixing up the house with a small purchase.  What I don't like - buying lots of gifts at once.  And then paying the bills in January.

So I had an idea.  Last December, I told Craig that I wanted to try something new.  Instead of opening up my wallet during December, I want to do everything for free.  Which will take a lot of planning.  A years worth of planning.

I decided to focus on this goal.  I've sort of challenged myself.  And I think I'm doing ok so far.  Here's how I'm doing it.

1.  Swagbucks.  This is by far the component that has helped me the most.  If you aren't familiar with Swagbucks, let me explain.  It is primarily a search engine that pays you to search the web.

Each day, I search through this site and earn Swagbucks.  When you reach 450 Swagbucks, you can cash them in for a $5 Amazon Gift Card (or other great gift cards.  The Amazon GC is just the best value).  You can cash in up to 5 of any one type gift card a month (For example, you can get 5 $5 Amazon gift cards in a month.  And if you still have more Swagbucks, you can cash them in for a Walmart GC or Paypal cash.  Whatever you want!).  I easily earn $25 in Amazon Gift Cards each month.  As of right now, I have $145 in Amazon Gift Cards in my account.  I also have 6171 Swagbucks (I haven't cashed in any during June yet).  

Craig also has a Swagbucks account.  He has (last I checked) about $70 in Amazon Gift Cards.  

So how do I earn so many Swagbucks?  This is what I do - 

- Search.  I earn anywhere from 7-40 (yes I really have earned 40 from a search) each day.  Some days I earn two or three times from searching.

- Swagbucks TV.  When I'm working (or searching Pinterest...) on the computer, I keep a tab up and 'watch' Swagbucks TV.  Every 10 videos, I earn 2 Swagbucks.  It doesn't seem like much, but it really adds up during the day.  And it isn't really hard since I'm already on the computer.

- Daily poll.  It takes about 2 seconds to answer the daily poll for an easy Swagbuck.

- Swagbucks Toolbar.  Just having the toolbar on my computer earns me one Swagbuck a day. (Note the Daily Poll and Toolbar will earn about 60 Swagbucks a month alone).

- Games.  Sometimes I play the Swagbucks games.  I earn 3 Swagbucks for every 2 games (or so).  There is a limit each day but it still adds up.

- Swagbucks TV mobile.  I downloaded the app on my phone and let it play everyday.  I do have to turn my data package off so I don't get charged by my phone carrier.  It also has a daily limit but is a very easy way to earn.

- Special offers.  I look around this tab each day to find ways to earn.  In the past, I have found short videos to watch, surveys to complete, and websites to click.  This is hit and miss, but I usually find something in here.

- Celebrate my birthday.  Yup, Swagbucks sends an email on my Birthday with a 50 Swagbuck code.  Nice.

- Random codes.  Swagbucks will offer codes sometimes.  I have found that the best way to find these codes is to follow them on Facebook.  Many people will let you know that a new code is out (although they are not allowed to share the actual code, they  will tell you where to find it).  They also share codes on Twitter.

So, that's how I earn through Swagbucks.  And because I challenged myself this year to earn as much as possible, I try to earn at least 150 a day.  Which I've found is not that hard.

And I just want to add that I've been earning Swagbucks for years (long before I had a blog).  This is the first year that I've set this goal though.  I've been having fun with it (I love a challenge!).  I became an affiliate because I have had such great success with Swagbucks.

2.  Entering Blog Giveaways.  I love giveaways.  But I don't spend much time entering them.  It's just not too practical.  But...I do try once in a while.  And I've won lots of stuff - $100 Michael's GC, $50 wall stencil, $50 Shabby Apple GC, and $80 lotion to name a few.  How do I win?  I usually enter on smaller blogs so my chances are good.  You'd be surprised how many small blogs have great giveaways!  I usually check out Tip Junkie and Someday Crafts for giveaway lists but there are many more ways to find them.  And a little tip - if you enter a giveaway, become a follower of the blog.  Chances are that there will be many more giveaways there in the future.

3.  Join Sneakpeeq for a free gift.

I joined a while ago and received a beautiful pearl ring that I'm going to give to my daughter.

I also have a $10 credit but I haven't picked anything out yet.

{Contains an affiliate link}

4.  Survey sites.  I have no affiliation with any sites but I have used e-Rewards for a while.  And I earn a $25 American Eagle Gift Card every quarter.  It's an easy way to end up with $100 at the end of the year.

5.  Freebies.  A while back, I shared some of my favorite money saving websites.  Well, most of them can point you to some fun freebies.  Everything from body wash to lip gloss to nail polish.  And much more.  All of these things make great stocking stuffers.  

6.  Regifting.  Oh I know we aren't supposed to admit it.  But I don't think there is anything wrong with passing on something (that I have never used) that will make someone else happy.  So, I have a few items that will be wrapped up in December.

And there you have it.  My plan for enjoying a debt-free Christmas.