Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Personal Best Shop for 2010 - So far!


Here is photo of my latest shopping trip to CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Target, Petco.
The beautiful Bamboo items had just arrived in the mail so I included them.  I got them from One Kings Lane for $0.95 after applying my free credit for joining and a couple of referral credits - click here to join.

The flag was a freebie from Grantham University, the non-skid mate was a freebie from 3M and one of the Glucose meters was also a freebie.

Aside from the items shown in this picture I also received via snail mail a couple of coupons for free items that the company's sent me for giving them some feedback and discount coupons that I requested from their web sites - all of which I will use to get my next haul.


The approximate retail value is $305.08! Initial out-of-pocket (OOP) was $6.73 minus $27.00 in ECB's, RR's, credits and MIR's making this a $20.27 money making trip!

Not to bad for about 6 hours worth of work, including the time it took to round up coupons, MIR forms, look for sales, shop, driving time, etc.  I figure that I made about $54 per hour for my efforts.  That is better than what I was making at IBM!  Not bad pay for a part-time job.


I live in a prime retail area and all the stores are very close together which helps me to save time and gas money.  I also plan my trips to combine as much as possible into one outing, such as the Library, Post Office, Gas station, recycling center, etc. 

The secret to my success was finding items on sale or on clearance, and combining store coupons with manufacturers coupons, finding and using MIR's, ECB's and RR's and earning credits to turn this into a money making trip.

You can get your coupons right here on this blog by clicking on the Coupons.com banner in the left-hand margin of the page. 


Until next time.

FrugalFather

Friday, October 29, 2010

Veteran's Day Military Discounts, Freebies and deals

Do you enjoy being free?  Then thank a Veteran.

This photo is of my Great Uncle Sherman Kaiser who served during WWI.

 In honor of those who have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces many businesses are offering free items or discounts to active duty, retired military and military Veterans.

These lists are certainly not meant to be all inclusive nor are they meant to exclude any business.  If you are a business that is offering something special to recognize our country's Veteran's please send me an email.  If you are a reader and have any additions please let me know.

Please share with any active duty military, retired military or veterans that you know. 

The following list is courtesy of ChiefB.  Great list! Thanks ChiefB.

Restaurant Freebies

Applebee's Restaurant - Free dinners to veterans throughout Veterans Day November 11th; selections will be from a new Veterans Day menu.
Chili's - waiting for information.

Outback Steakhouse - Free Blooming Onion and beverage.

Golden Corral- Free buffet dinner from 5-9 p.m. on Nov. 16 to anyone who has ever served in the U.S. military.

In celebration of Veterans Day 11 Nov 2010, Subway is showing its thanks with free six inch subs to all Veterans or Active Duty members.

On Nov. 7, McCormick & Schmick's Seafood restaurants will offer a free entree to military veterans for its 12th annual Veteran's Appreciation Event.  Menu picks include such seafood items as Parmesan crusted Tilapia, roasted cedar plank salmon and almond crusted Rainbow Trout. "Our Veterans Appreciation Event has become a tradition that our restaurants look forward to each year," said Bill Freeman, CEO of McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants, in a statement.

Krispy Kreme - One free doughnut of any variety.  Really Krispy Kreme?  Just one!
UNO Chicago Grill- Free entree or individual pizza with an entree or pizza purchase of equal or greater value.

Coushatta Casino Resort - The Louisiana casino and resort is offering a free seven-clans lunch or dinner buffet to veterans or active military.

MarketPlace Grill & Express - Veterans and active-duty military receive free entrees.

Masala Wok - The Northern Virginian restaurant is offering a free entree to veterans.

Hy-Vee supermarkets - The mid-western supermarket chain is offering a free breakfast to veterans.

Abuelo's Mexican Food Restaurants - All veterans and active-duty military receive a free entree.

Carolina Burgers & BBQ - In Matthews, NC is offering a free meal to all service members and veterans.

Retail Freebies

Brides Across America - Provides free wedding gowns to qualified military brides.

Lowe's & Home Depot - Extra 10% off to active-duty military members, National Guard and reserve members, retirees, honorably discharged veterans and immediate family members.

Sam's Club - Over 25,000 Hugo canes will be given away to U.S. veterans in need of mobility assistance. Membership is not required, but supplies are limited, so check with your local store.

Amazon.com - Free "Veterans Day Honor" MP3 album download. The album includes 12 songs by The Bands and Ensembles of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Cabela's Outdoor Store - Offers their employee discount to all veterans, active-duty military and reserves, law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel Nov. 11-12. Discounts vary from 5% to 50%, depending on the item.

Build-a-Bear Workshop - Members of the armed services including the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Reserve Officer Training Corps, will receive a 20% discount Nov. 11-15 on any one transaction at Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Dollar General - 10% discount for all veterans, active-duty military, National Guard and reserve and their immediate families.

Fashion Bug - 20% off all plus-size and misses clothing purchases with a copy of military ID or spouse's military ID.


Entertainment/Recreation Freebies

National parks, forests and monuments - Admission is free to everyone on Veterans Day.

Knott's Berry Farm - Free park admission to U.S. armed forces personnel and a guest during Veteran's Month, November 1-26.

Colonial Williamsburg - Free admission Nov. 6-11 for active-duty military, guard and reservists, retirees, veterans and their dependents.

San Jacinto Museum of History - Free visits to the Observation Deck, theatre, and special exhibit for veterans, active duty military personnel, and their families.

Historic Jamestown - Free admission to veterans, current Armed Forces members and their family members.

Battleship Cove - Free admission and a special ceremony for veterans, active, duty and reservists.

Vicksburg National Military Park - Free admission for all.

Birmingham Museum of Art - Free admission to the ticketed event "Life and Liberty" on Nov. 10-11 for veterans and active military.

Vulcan Park and Museum- In Birmingham, Alabama is offering discounted admission through November to the park and museum.

Greenbay (WI) New Zoo - Free admission to veterans and their families.

Central Florida Zoo - Free admission to the Sanford, Florida zoo with proper ID.

Strategic Air & Space Museum- Free admission for veterans Nov. 11-14 to the Ashland, Neb. museum.

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum - in Oklahoma City offers free admission to veterans and five guests from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Veterans Day.

Natural Elements Spa & Salon - In Chesapeake, Virginia, will provide
free services from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to both active duty and retired military.

The following list is courtesy of Dian of "Grocery Shop For Free".  Thank you Dian for helping to support and recognize our nations Veteran's.

FREEbies: For Active Duty & Veterans 2010!

Dian on October 28, 2010
Here you will find a current and ever growing list of FREEbies for Active Military & Veterans for Veteran’s Day 2010!
Eat FREE at Applebee’s On November 11th, 2010
Eat FREE at Golden Corral On November 15th – Military Appreciation Monday!
FREE Bloomin’ Onion & Beverage At Outback Steak House on November 11th
FREE Entree’ At McCormick & Schmidt November 7th – Reservation Suggested.
FREE National Park Entrance November 11th, 2010
FREE Admission to Anheuser-Busch Parks
10% Military Discount At Lowe’s – All Year
10% Military Discount At Home Depot – All Year There was a comment on the Facebook page that T-Mobile also offers a discount – so make sure you ask! – All Year
Make sure you take some form of ID that shows your Active Duty, Retired Military or Veteran status.  You'd be surprised how many people try to claim an honor that they are not due.

I want to end this post with a heart felt thanks to all Active Duty military personnel and my fellow Veteran's for the sacrifice you are making and have made for the freedoms we enjoy.  

Until next we meet.  Hooah!

FrugalFather

Picture of yours truely.  
Taken this past Memorial Day.










 



Disclaimer - This post is informational only and there is no guarantee of accuracy.  Please call ahead to verify any particular deal before making a trip.  As always YMMV.

RecycleBank Plus Kashi = High Value Coupons

I have written about RecycleBank in the past and this another great partnership that can help you to save money on your grocery bill and help the environment.


First of all a little about RecycleBank - they partner with cities and recycle haulers to reward households for recycling.

Right now you can earn 25 RecycleBank points just for signing up here   (this offer is good for NEW registrants only). You can also get an additional 50 points go here and join the RecycleBank Ebay Green Team.  You now have 75 RecycleBank points in your account.  Now tell me that wasn't fun and easy!


You can use your points to purchase high value coupons for groceries and/or discounts at online stores such as the $3 Kashi coupon by clicking on the “Get Rewards” tab you will be able to start scrolling through the rewards they have available on the left hand side.

50 points gets you a $3 off ANY one Kashi product coupon via regular mail.  Combine that with a sale and hopefully a store coupon and you might have yourself a money maker or a freebie.  If you're not a Kashi fan you have plenty of other choices.

Can it get any better you ask?  Why yes it can.  Kashi has teamed up with RecycleBank and when you buy specially marked boxes of Kashi Whole Wheat Biscuits cereal (Cinnamon Harvest, Autumn Wheat, or Island Vanilla), you can get 15 Recycle Bank points (by entering an 8 digit code found inside the box).

 But wait!  If you hurry it gets even sweeter.  If you enter the code before November 30th, you’ll get 15 extra bonus points!! Yahoo! 


So what are you waiting for?  Get over to RecycleBank and signup.




Until next time this is  FrugalFather signing off



Note- Images and trademarks are property of RecycleBank and Kashi.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Update: Prepare To Defend Yourself Against Possible Reverse Coupon Fraud

I first wrote about preparing to defend yourself against possible reverse coupon fraud on 21 September.  See blog archives for article.

It appears that the problem is considerable worse than I first reported and I wanted to give you an update as quickly as possible.

This is a must read news story for all shoppers, particularly Target shoppers.  Here is an excerpt from the article that appeared today on the Chicago Breaking Business website:

Target shortchanges shoppers with certain coupons

Posted today at 9:32 a.m.

By Gregory Karp | Target Corp., the mass merchandiser with about 1,750 stores nationwide, for months has been shortchanging its customers who use certain manufacturers’ coupons by crediting them for a fraction of their face value.
Target is calling it a computer glitch. Avid coupon users are calling it an outrage.
“It’s just a mess. It makes me not want to go there,” said Caroline Jaworski, of Harwood Heights. On Wednesday morning, she said, her $1.50 coupon for two packs of  feminine-hygiene products was reduced by the register to $1.02 at the Target store in Norridge.
“You really have to watch the registers, and for people who don’t, they don’t know they’re getting ripped off,” Jaworski said. “I think this is a serious issue that a lot of people aren’t aware of.” ....
I and my next door neighbor had our own "Target Coupon" fiasco experience yesterday.  Both of us had coupons that we cut out of the SmartSource coupon insert from the Dallas Morning News for a $5 Target Gift Card when you purchase 2-8 roll or 1-12 roll package of Viva paper towels.

She tried to redeem a coupon for 2-8 rolls packages and the cashier was not able to scan the coupon and the manager would not accept it.  She went to two different Target stores and got the same cold shoulder.  She finally gave up and ended up calling Targets infamous 800 number for customer service and they tried to brush her off, but she persisted and insisted on talking to a CS manager who agreed to send her 2 $3 Off Target Gift Cards.

 I initially got the brush off when I tried to buy 1-12 roll package wand the cashier when the coupon would not scan.  I insisted that the coupon was a legitimate coupon out of a reputable newspaper and wanted to use it.  The cashier called for backup who had the same issue with the coupon, but after some negotiating keyed in some information and over rode the POS and gave me the $5 Target Gift Card.

I too called Targets 800 number to report the problem and was given an apology and when I said that I was not satisfied with just an apology was told that that's all they could offer me.  I asked to speak to a manager and was told that I would get the same response.  I then asked the CS rep to take my name, address and phone number and give it to management and she said that it is their policy not to respond.  I wonder why?  Why is that Target?  I would love to talk to someone in Target corporate.  You have my number and address so I am waiting.


The old advice "Caveat Emptor" - "Let the buyer beware" applies to shoppers using coupons.  If some lawyer sees that there is enough money to be made in bringing a class action suit against Target or another large retailer then ironically, this may be the straw that eventually breaks the "coupons" back as stores begin to stop taking coupons all together and that would be a sad day for consumers.

Stay tuned for further developments.

Until we meet again this is FrugalFather signing off.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Do You Need A Baby Sitter, Senior Caregiver, House Sitter, Pet Sitter or Housekeeper?

Do you need help with your life?

 

I sure do and I have the hardest find time finding help that I can rely on and trust and at reasonable rates.

Whether you need a baby sitter, senior caregiver, house sitter, pet sitter or housekeeper then I've got the perfect place for you to find a fun, reliable, savvy sitter.   The folks over at Sittercity have done all the hard work for you.

As a Sittercity member like me, you'll have access to: Hundreds of thousands of nationwide caregivers, including ...baby sitters, nannies, pet sitters, senior caregivers, housesitters, housekeepers and tutors.

I like to travel a lot and even though I have a great Veterinarian I hate to leave my best friend locked up in a kennel all day for a week or two at a time.  That's where Sittercity comes into play.  Offering every type of service imaginable at competitive rates.  You'll be happier while you off having a good time knowing that your best friend is able to stay in their home. 

 

And right now when you sign up using the link below you'll automatically get 10% off the initial sign-up fee.  Click here to join and get your discount

Your perfect sitter is just a click away!


 

 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

News Flash! Recycle Bank Offering Exciting New Rewards Option!

If you haven't heard of the RecycleBank program you need to get other there and read up and start earning rewards for recycling and being green.
 
Be sure too check out my previous post entitled "How to Make Money Being Green" dated 4 September 2010 for additional information on how to get some free points.
 
Here is the latest announcement from the folks you run the RecycleBank program and to me it is an exciting option for RecycleBank members.
 

Introducing Print At Home Rewards

An Exciting Rewards Program Change

Now you can get your rewards as soon as you check out - no more waiting for them to arrive in the mail.

Look for this printer icon on selected rewards through the catalog. These are available to print on your home or work printer.

It's easy to get your rewards by printing them at home:

  1. Choose eligible rewards that display the Print at Home printer icon
  2. Place your rewards order and checkout
  3. Click the Print All Now button after checkout
  4. If this is your first Print at Home order, download the printing software - you will only have to do this once - and follow the prompts.
  5. Your rewards will be waiting at your printer for you to use right away!
For full details, please visit our FAQs


Until next time.

 FrugalFather

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Shop Till You Drop!

Here is picture of all the booty I got from my latest shopping trip to CVS, Walgreens, Kohl's, Albertson's, Tom Thumb, Target, Petco and a couple of freebies thrown into the mix that came in the mail that day that included a full size bag of coffee, coffee mug, variety pack of stick pack coffees and a little reusable lunch bag.



The approximate retail value is $256.68, initial out of pocket cost $68.23 minus ECB's, RR's and MIR the total OOP comes to only $43.23!  The majority of the OOP costs are for the Cottenelle Bathroom tissue and Cottonelle Flushable Moist Wipes.

Not to bad for about 5 hours worth of work, including the time it took to round up coupons, MIR forms, look for sales, etc.  I figure that I made about $43 an hour for my efforts.

Again the secret to my success was finding items on sale or on clearance, and combining store coupons with manufacturers coupons and then earning the ECB's and RR's to help bring the cost down.

Be sure and read my recent articles on the coupons and MIR that Kimberly-Clark offered as well as going to the stores sites and getting their coupons as well.

Oh and to top it off while I was in Target I stopped by the in-store Starbucks and found they were giving away samples of their delicious Mocha flavor coffee.  Ahhh!

Until next time.

FrugalFather

Monday, October 18, 2010

Free Starbucks Coffee Anyone?

The phrase "Free Starbucks Coffee" is bound to catch any coffee lovers attention and now that I've got your attention let me explain how I got mine FREE this morning and how you can too.

Here is a photo of yours truly at the local Starbucks grinning like the cat that ate the canary.

In my left hand is an empty bag of Starbucks coffee.  In my right hand is my FREE tall cup of freshly brewed Starbucks coffee.

I am a die hard Starbucks coffee fan and brew my own Starbucks at home most days - my favorites are House Blend and Breakfast Blend, but occasionally I treat myself to one at a brick-n-mortar Starbucks store and getting it for FREE makes my day.

You need to look for the specially marked bags of coffee at your local grocery store and then take the empty bag to a participating Starbucks location.


 This promotion has been going on for over a year, but still there are lot of people who don't know about it.  One of the things you want to make sure you do is watch those expiration dates - actually "Best Before" dates on side seam of the bag.  Not only do you want to make sure you're getting the freshest coffee, but the FREE coffee offer expires 30-days after the "Best Before" date on the bag.  I can't talk for the folks at Starbucks, but I would imagine that they would let you slide if it was past 30-days, but you never know.


 This is a great deal if you love Starbucks coffee the way I do because I go through at least a bag a week so that means I can get a fresh brewed tall cup of coffee every week, at least until the promotion runs out.

I am not suggesting that you go out and buy a bag of Starbucks beans for ground coffee at retail prices of $6-$7 for a 12 ounce bag just so you can get a FREE cup of coffee, but if you already drink Starbucks at home then you might as well get something for your loyalty.

Ahh!!  Can you smell the aroma of that fresh brewed Starbucks coffee?

Enjoy folks.

FrugalFather


Full Disclosure - I am a Starbucks affiliate. I have not been compensated for writing this article and the opinions I express are my own.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Do You Love Freebies? Then You Have Got To Join Swagbucks!

Swagbucks is one of my favorite sites for making some extra spending money.  If you shop on Amazon.com then you're really going to love SwagBucks because it's easy to get a $5 Amazon gift card every month without spending a penny or if you prefer cold hard cash then you can select the PayPal gift card option.  There are many other prizes listed in the Swag Store .

The first time I heard the name Swagbucks I thought what the heck is a Swagbuck and more specifically what does Swag mean?  Well gentle readers it is an acronym meaning "Stuff We All Get".  How appropriate is that?

Like anything else there is a learning curve, but I am going to make it super easy for you to come up to speed super fast and learn all the ropes by giving you the winning tips on how to earn Swagbucks.

First join Swagbucks by clicking here.   You will earn your first 30 Swagbucks!

Winning Tips

Tip #1 - Need To Search the Web? Do It With Swagbucks.com.

Swagbucks.com is the only place on the web where you can win exclusive prizes simply by doing the things you do anyway, everyday!

When searching the web, the best way to win Swag Bucks (and the only method we endorse) is to use the engine for genuine search and discovery. Our technology is designed to award users who search naturally — simply utilize our engine the way you would with other search providers.

Note: Doing a ton of searches, or clicking on search results, will not increase your chances of winning in any way.

Tip #2 - Get a Toolbar, Stay Connected and Win More.

If you use Internet Explorer or Firefox, the quickest way to win Swag Bucks is to have Swagbucks.com always at your finger tips. The Swagbucks.com toolbar resides on the top of your browser and only takes seconds to install.

Tip #3 - Share Your Opinions Through Trusted Surveys.

Major brands want to know what you think and are willing to pay you Swag Bucks to hear it. Complete your personalized profiles and start earning BIG Swag Bucks on your own time, at your own pace.

Tip #4 - Want Swag Bucks Quickly? Complete a Special Offer.

Got your eye on something special in the Swag Store? If you're saving up Swag Bucks but could use a little help, check out our Special Offers Page. You'll find rewarding promotions from major brands. Sign up only for the offers that sound right for you!

Tip #5 - Do You Shop Online? Visit Our Shop & Earn Mall Before You Buy.

Odds are we've got the brands you're already looking for, and we'll give you Swag Bucks when you make your purchase through us!

Tip #6 - Earn Swag Bucks and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint.

Got a new phone in the last few years? Then send us your old cell phone and we'll reward you Swag Bucks. Replace your old dust-collecting cellular with an exclusive Swagbucks.com prize! There's no limit to how many phones you can recycle!

Tip #7 - Interact With The Polls.

Our daily polls page features topics and questions that matter to you. From everything Swag Bucks related, to popular culture, news, and entertainment, the Polls page is consistently fresh, fun, and rewarding. Answer the Daily Poll on the day it becomes available to earn a bonus Swag Buck!

Tip #8 - Read the Blog.

When big news breaks about Swag Bucks, it happens first on the Swag Bucks Blog! Find out about all the newest offers, prizes, and Swag Codes, all in one convenient location. Look for posts by The Swag Guy for exclusive Swag Buck opportunities!

Tip #9 - Keep Up With Our Facebook/Twitter Account.

Discover what the folks behind Swag Bucks are thinking about and working on in real time! Our social media pages feature an informal community setting for you to gain insights and share your opinion. And don't be surprised if you stumble upon the occasional Swag Code!

Tip #10 - Receive The Newsletter.

Get timely updates, notifications, and the occasional Swag Code delivered right to your inbox with our bi-monthly newsletter. Every email is packed with important news and tidbits to help you get more out of your Swag Bucks account.

Now that you know all the secrets to being a super Swaggernaut get started racking up those Swagbucks.  Be sure and share this blog post with all your friends so they can join in on the fun and earn Swagbucks too.

Until next time may you "live long and prosper".

FrugalFather


Full Disclosure - I am a Swagbucks affiliate, but I have not been compensated for writing this article and the opinions I express are my own.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Free Printed Materials for Your Business and Home

Today I wanted to talk about a great bunch of freebies for anyone who wants anything printed on just about anything that you can get from a company called Vistaprint.

The list of items that you can get for free is fairly lengthy and after you place an order you'll receive emails offering even more freebies.  All you pay is the modest shipping fee. 
  • Free Business Cards (250) (500 Premium Card offer in later emails)
  • Free T-Shirt
  • Free Baseball Cap
  • Free Coffee Mug
  • Free Photo Wall Calendars
  • Free Invitations (10)
  • Free Tote Bag
  • Free Photo Flip Book
  • Free Sticky Notes
  • Free Rubber Stamps
  • Free Pen
  • Free Return Address Labels (140)
  • Free Postcards (100)
  • Free Mouse Pad
If you haven't heard of Vistaprint by now then you've probably been living on the moon and completely off the net.  I first became acquainted with Vistaprint through one of the many emails I get offering tons of things for free and I've been placing orders for freebies on a regular basis every since.

At first I was skeptical, but about a company that offered so much for free, but after I received my first order I was a fan and have placed dozens of orders since.  I get such a kick out of picking out the designs and composing what I want printed on the item.

Although Vistaprint's primary market is micro and small businesses they have a wide variety of materials for the home.  Once you take a look around I think you will be amazed at how much of their product offerings you can use.

The cost of shipping goes up the more you add to your cart so I would put one item in your cart to see what the shipping cost for that item and them after you add an item check the shipping cost again so you'll know how the item increasing the shipping cost.  I would suggest you pick the cheapest rate.  It says that it will take 21 days, but my experience has been that it takes much less time than that to arrive. 

To find all the free products go to the Vistaprint home page and look under the "Business" category on the left-hand side of the home page and choose "Free Products".  There is also a category called  "Home & Family" that also list "Free Products", but the list has fewer items. 

One of tricks I have learned in ordering is that once I have chosen the free product is too skip past all the other upgrades that you can choose and the other offers by just clicking on your cart.  I would place one free item in your cart and then click on "checkout" to see what the initial shipping costs will be for the one item and then go back to the home page and look under the "Free Products" list for additional items.

Once you place your first order you will start receiving email offers for additional free products that are not listed on the web site and some of which are premium products such as premium business cards, T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, business card holders, etc so I would place a minimum order the first time and wait for the email offers for the other items to start rolling in.  


You can go through a shopping portal such as eBates, Mr. Rebates, InBoxDollars and get a percentage back on you purchase, but I would check to make sure that the "free" item doesn't convert to a paid item.  If it does then you can close out the Vistaprint order window and start over again and it should revert back to free.  This sometimes happens on one time offers or specials that you're offered in emails.  But it is worth going through one of the shopping portal sites just to make sure that you're not giving up some money.

Until next time.


FrugalFather


Full Disclosure:  I am an affiliate of Vistaprint, eBates, Mr. Rebates and InBoxDollars but I have not been paid to write this article, make any recommendations and the opinions I express here are my own.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sweet Combo Money Makers

Today I am going to give you a little lesson in how to put a combo money making deal together.

You need to follow the plan in order or you will not get the maximum results.

First - click on each of the following links and join each site.  They are free to join and they will reward you with a bonus when you sign-up to get you started.  Don't forget to join each one in order to maximize your earnings. 

I would recommend that you setup a separate mailbox so you can direct all of the emails from these sites to it so you won't have to sort out your other emails from these.  It will make things much easier for you.  I have email a number of email accounts with Gmail and Yahoo, but you could use any email account.  Yahoo is the simplest for me because it offers me the ability to sort my emails and I can go through them very quickly.

1 - eBates.com - eBates is a shopping portal that allows you to earn a percentage back on your qualified shopping purchases. You can elect to receive your money by having them send you a "Big Fat Check", making a deposit to your PayPal account, donating the money to charity or other "Fast Cash" options. Another way of earning some money while you shop. You will earn a $5 bonus for joining.


2 - InBoxDollars.com - InBoxDollars offers a variety of ways to earn cash - click on emails, complete offers, click & use grocery coupons, play cash games, take surveys, get a percentage back from shopping, make referrals, etc, etc. Once you receive your first check you will be upgraded to "Gold" membership and the rewards get better. $5 bonus for joining.


3 - InBoxPays.com - InBoxPays is similar to InBoxDollars and offers a variety of ways to earn cash - click on emails, play games, complete offers, take surveys, shop on-line, make referrals and more. Then when you're ready just cash out and get paid directly to your PayPal account. $5 bonus for joining.


4 - MrRebates.com - Mr. Rebates is a shopping portal very similar to eBates that allows you to earn a percentage back on your qualified shopping purchases. The more you shop the more you earn. You will earn a $5 bonus for joining.


5 - MyPoints.com - MyPoints was one of the very first sites that I joined and one of the best paying. You earn money by clicking on emails, taking surveys, doing web searches, completing offers, shopping, making referrals, etc. I use this site to get most of my coupons and they give me points when I redeem them.


6 - ShopAtHome.com - ShopAtHome is similar to InBoxDollars and offers a variety of ways to earn cash - offers free on-line coupons, including grocery and restaurant coupons, cash back rewards, free samples and contests. Then when account reaches at least $20 you'll receive a check in the mail.


7 - Swagbucks.com - SwagBucks is an on-line shopping portal where you earn "Swag Bucks" through a variety of methods - searching the web, taking surveys, shopping, daily poll, completing special offers, trading in your electronic gear, etc. Then you redeem your "Swag Bucks" for all sorts of prizes.

Second - while you are on the site make sure that you familiarize yourself with how it works so you can maximize your rewards.  Each one will be slightly different so there is a bit of a learning curve at first, but over time you'll get the hang of it.

Third - check your email box periodically for emails from these sites and click on everyone you get.  Don't forget to scroll to the bottom of the InBoxDollars and InBoxPays emails and click on the confirmation.


Fourth - if you go through one of these portals and make a purchase then you can pay with either PayPal or a credit card.  My preferred payment method is a credit card because my credit card earns me 2% cash back.  I have another card that offers me points and I alternate.  The cards I use do not have an annual membership fee and I pay off the balance each month so I do not pay interest.  So in essence I get paid to use my credit cards and I don't pay the banks anything.

Here is a scenario of how the money or points can add up.  Since each site works a little different this is a generic example:


You get a bonus for joining, you fill out all the profile information and get more points or "dollars", you get paid for completing offers, you get a percentage based on your shopping, you click on emails and get points or money, etc.  If you make a purchase you use a credit card and earn cash back or points.  Before you  know it you've racked up a pretty penny.

 That is the gist of it so now go out and make some extra spending money! 

Let me know how you come out and if you have any other ideas to share with the rest of us.

FrugalFather

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Special Update - Don't Throw Away Those Expired Coupons!



I just received an email from a military family member who is stationed overseas with an update on sending coupons to military families overseas and wanted to share it with all of you right away.

The families can always use coupons, but this time of year with the holidays coming up they are really needed and appreciated.  So get the word out by talking to your friends, family, co-workers and church members about getting involved and show our support our troops and their families overseas.  This would make a great project for school children to get involved in.

Here are the guidelines that Vicky shared with me:

  1. Must say Manufacturer Coupon - Please no store brand coupons (Target, Walgreens, or brands that are specific to stores)
  2. Must be able to see Expiration Date - If the coupon expires March 1st, we can use it until Sept 1st. Please try not to hold on to coupons too long. Some groups hold onto them until they have a full box, but then a lot of the coupons at the bottom are already past the 6 months and can not be used.
  3. Must have entire bar code and must be able to be read bar code.
  4. Sorting and cutting are NOT required, but do help - We do have some volunteers that help sort coupons, but if you would like to help, we sort them by month. We do this for two reasons. One is that it makes "cleaning house" each month easier and each family can grab a bag of coupons and get a variety of items.
  5. If you work with a group and have a lot of coupons, I would encourage you to check and see if a flat rate envelope or box would be in your best interest.
  6. On average a box or large envelope will take about 7-10 days to get here. Letter and Business envelopes take about 3-4 days. During peak mailing times (such as Christmas) or a natural disaster (Icelandic volcano) times can increase.
  7. If you would like an email confirmation that we received the coupons, please put a small note with your name and email address in the box/envelope. When I pick up the coupons at the Post Office, I take some of the boxes/envelopes to our AFRC for other volunteers.
  8. Please DO NOT use staples or post it notes directly on coupons. Some post its have a very strong glue and will rip the coupon when trying to remove it.
Be sure and take a look at all the information that is posted on the Overseas Coupon Program website for a dearth of information about sending your coupons to military families overseas and for a list of bases that need coupons.

In appreciation for Vicky's help with getting this much needed information out and for all that she does for her fellow military families I want to offer her my heartfelt thanks for a job well done.  Hooah!

Vicky would also like all of you to know that even a small envelope with a few left over coupons from the inserts out of the Sunday newspaper can be a great help.

With her permission I am listing her APO address where you can contact her and send your manufacturer's coupons.

Vicky Forehand
PSC 37 Box 3867
APO AE 09459

I want to thank each of my readers for your support of our troops and their families.

That's all for now folks.

FrugalFather
United States Army - Retired

Still Proud - Still Serving - Still Saluting!



Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Few Of My Favorite Things



It's so nice to be back in the saddle after a much needed vacation.  It was a very long hot summer and it was so nice to be able to enjoy the gorgeous Fall weather for a change.

Today I want to talk about a few of my favorite things I do to make a little extra money from home using my personal computer and no it is not blogging.

I am not going to try to tell you that you are going to get rich or even make enough money to quite your day job if you're so lucky as to have one in today's economy, but you can easily make a little extra money, get all sorts of nice prizes or points that can be converted into airline or hotel points.

I would encourage you to go to each one of the sites, learn a little about them and join.  They are all free to join and pay you for your time so what have you got to loose?  Each one has their own way of earning "points" or "dollars" that I will explain later that can be converted into real cash or some equivalent so there is a bit of a learning curve so check out the FAQS, but once you get the hang of how to earn rewards it's really easy.  You may have to pay income taxes on your earning so I would suggest you talk to your tax advisor.

I'm going to start by listing my top 10 favorites and then tell you a little about each one of them.  I like all of these sites and am a member of each one, but the list is not in any order of preference nor are they my recommendation for you since each of us will have our own personal favorites.  I would love to hear about your favorites and why you like them and also tell me about your least favorites.


MY TOP 10 REWARD SITES


Warning!  These sites can be extremely addictive.  


1 -  eBates.com - eBates is a shopping portal that allows you to earn a percentage back on your qualified shopping purchases.  You can elect to receive your money by having them send you a "Big Fat Check", making a deposit to your PayPal account, donating the money to charity or other "Fast Cash" options.  Another way of earning some money while you shop. You will earn a $5 bonus for joining.

2 -  eBay.com - eBay is a very well known site for buying all sorts of things by placing a bid for the product or using the "Buy Now" option.  Either way you can get some fantastic bargains and earn "eBay Bucks" as a percentage back based on the amount of the purchase that accumulates in your eBay account that can then be used in the future to help pay for the auctions you win or your purchases. You will earn a $5 bonus for joining. 

3 -  eRewards.com - eRewards membership is by invitation only.  Visit the web site and take a look at the sponsor's and then become a member of one or more of the sponsors loyalty programs such as their frequent flyer program or their hotel rewards program, etc.  Then once you've done that you will receive an email invitation to eRewards if you qualify from their sponsor to join the program.  You earn reward points that can then be used to get airline miles, hotel points, and other rewards.  I use the rewards to earn airline miles so my frequent flyer accounts remain active as well as build up points for free hotel stays.

4 -  InBoxDollars.com - InBoxDollars offers a variety of ways to earn cash - click on emails, complete offers, click & use grocery coupons, play cash games, take surveys, get a percentage back from shopping, make referrals, etc, etc.  Once you receive your first check you will be upgraded to "Gold" membership and the rewards get better.  $5 bonus for joining.

5 -  MrRebates.com -  Mr. Rebates is a shopping portal very similar to eBates that allows you to earn a percentage back on your qualified shopping purchases.  The more you shop the more you earn.  You will earn a $5 bonus for joining.

6 -  ShopAtHome.com ShopAtHome is similar to InBoxDollars and offers a variety of ways to earn cash - offers free on-line coupons, including grocery and restaurant coupons, cash back rewards, free samples and contests Then when account reaches at least $20 you'll receive a check in the mail.

7 - Swagbucks.com - SwagBucks is an on-line shopping portal where you earn "Swag Bucks" through a variety of methods - searching the web, taking surveys, shopping, daily poll, completing special offers, trading in your electronic gear, etc.  Then you redeem your "Swag Bucks" for all sorts of prizes.


8 - RecycleBank.com - You can earn points through a variety of ways - recycle your electronics, support greener electric sources, sign up for and use the Gconomy credit card, join the eBay Green Team and earn 50 points, get rewarded for recycling, find and enter RecycleBank codes and then redeem your points from a large selection of products in the rewards catalog.


Well that should get you well on your way.

Until next time this is FrugalFather signing off.