Should You Change Your Kids’ Lifestyle When You Have A Financial Emergency? Or Not?

Jessie’s kids were 10 and 12 when her husband, Ron, was involved in a serious car accident with a semi-truck on the highway.

Thankfully, Ron survived, but his recovery was a long one and involved many medical procedures and hospital stays.

While he luckily had disability pay at his job, it only paid 60% of his salary.  The reduced salary combined with the many medical bills meant that money was very, very tight.

Carrie’s kids were 9 and 13 when her husband, Michael, was diagnosed with cancer.

He, too, had to take a lot of time off work for treatment and incurred significant medical bills.  He didn’t have disability insurance, so he was only paid for the time he was able to work.  Their finances became very strained.

Though there were different causes, both families fell on difficult financial times because of medical issues.  However, how the families handled the financial strain was opposite.

Change Your Kids’ Lifestyle When You Have A Financial Emergency?

Change Your Kids’ Lifestyle When You Have A Financial Emergency?

Let The Kids’ Lives Go On As Normally As Possible In A Financial Emergency

Couple #1, Jessie and Ron, wanted life to go on for their kids as normally as possible.

They were thankful that Ron was alive and wanted to make the most of being with one another.  When they could, they took outings as a family to local attractions.

They kept the kids in all of their sports, and when their 10-year-old turned 11, they made sure to have a big, expensive party just as they had for all of their children’s previous birthdays.

Restrict Expenses and Curtail Kids’ Activities When In A Financial Emergency

Couple #2, Carrie and Michael, took a different approach.

Soon after Michael was diagnosed, they sat down with their children to explain that they would have to work together as a family to help dad beat cancer.  One way was to cut their expenses so that Michael wouldn’t have to worry about finances while he was also being treated for cancer.

When times are tough, do you tell your kids and economize, or do you try to go about your life as normally as possible, creating memories by spending time together?

There’s really no right or wrong answer to this issue; each family copes the best way that they can.

For some, that means going to outside activities and carrying on as if nothing in life has changed.  For others, that means economizing and changing their lifestyle temporarily while the financial difficulty is present.

My Experience With A Financial Emergency

I was 14 when my dad was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer, and life changed radically.

We were never a family that spent a lot on outside activities, but all extra spending stopped when my dad was sick.

He couldn’t work, didn’t have disability pay, and my parents didn’t have a large emergency fund, so we had to rely on the generosity of others for a few months simply to get by.

The whole situation was stressful, but I did not begrudge my parents curtailing all of our extra activities.

In fact, I would have felt terribly guilty if my parents would have spent money they didn’t have to make life seem as normal as possible because life wasn’t normal then.

When my dad passed, my mom received a small life insurance policy, and thankful, she didn’t have debt to clean up first from the time my dad was sick.

All people handle a radical life disruption differently, but in the case of couple #1, chances are, eventually they’ll reach a point when the emergency fund is gone and the credit cards are at their limit, when they’ll need to economize and stop treating their kids as if everything is normal.

Why not do it earlier so they can save as much of their financial integrity as possible?

Have you had a major life issue that disrupted your finances?  If so, how did you handle it?  Did you tell the kids and start economizing, or did you try to maintain the status quo for your children because they’ve already experienced so much upheaval?


How To Cut Those Scary Halloween Costs


While Halloween is nowhere near as expensive as Christmas it can still be an expensive holiday especially if you have children or are planning to have a Halloween party.

If you reduce your spending at Halloween, you will have more money for the holidays.

If your funds are tight, or you simply want to save money, here are some ideas for cutting those scary Halloween costs. These homemade projects are also a great way to spend time with your family.

cut halloween costs

cut halloween costs

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Candy Corn Recipe

  • Cookies – cookies are easy to make, and you can make Halloween themed cookies. You can even make small cookies and bag them up for children who are trick-or-treating.
  • Toys – you can also hand out inexpensive Halloween themed toys, like spider rings or whistles. You can often buy these in bulk from party stores, and it is often cheaper and healthier than giving out candy.
  • Inexpensive Halloween Party Decorations

    Having a costume party can be great fun, but it can be expensive to decorate your house. Instead of rushing out to buy expensive decorations, you can use inexpensive items and some things that you already own in order to decorate your home.

    • Black trash bags – you probably already have these in your home, and they make great decorations. For example, you can cut out cats and bats and hang them around your home. You can also cover tables with these bags in order to give your house a spookier ambiance. This is a great option for food tables, and it makes clean up easy.
    • Fake spider webs and spiders – these spider webs are often inexpensive, and you can find them at party stores. You can also buy a roll of white string and make your own web that way. Hang this handmade web with pipe cleaner spiders, and you are ready to go. Here’s some instructions on making your own pipe cleaner spiders: Pipe Cleaner Spiders
    • A black light – you might have a black light, and if not, they are inexpensive, especially if you buy a black light bulb. Replace your normal light bulb with a black light bulb (make sure it fits before you buy it). White and light colored cloth will glow under this kind of light. You can also buy some black light paint and decorate with it, and it will glow under black light. For example, you can cut shapes like cats, pumpkins, gravestones, etc, out of cardboard or foam board and paint it with black light paint.

    These are just a few ideas to make your Halloween more fun and affordable.

    Do you have any ideas for making inexpensive Halloween costumes, treats or decorations? Let us know!

    This is an article by Dominique Brown from If you want relevant, witty and easy to follow finance guidance subscribe to his newsletter by clicking here!



    3 Ways To Be More Grateful This Christmas

    Have you ever read the Little House on the Prairie books?

    One Christmas, Laura and Mary each get their own shiny tin cup (they had previously had to share an old one), two sticks of candy, a small homemade cake, and a shiny, new penny.

    They were excited beyond belief.

    In our modern times, such a meager Christmas is unimaginable.

    Each year the retail stores seem to ratchet up the consumerism, trying to get us to buy more and more; some stores even stay open on Christmas.

    Many of us have fallen for this and feel an intense pressure to spend a large amount of money on the loved ones in our lives, but such pressure often makes Christmas feel like something to get through without going thousands of dollars into debt.  Because of our own expectations and others’, Christmas feels like a burden.

    That’s not what Christmas is about.

    Christmas is about giving and doing for others, but not at the expense of having to work overtime to buy more gifts or having to go into credit card debt so you don’t look cheap.

    Why not bring back the meaning of Christmas and enjoy the holiday more starting this year?

    Ways To Be More Grateful This Christmas

    Ways To Be More Grateful This Christmas

    Focus On the True Reason for the Season

    The real reason we celebrate Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

    This holiday season, why not find a few activities your family can do to focus on this?

    Our family does many of the 30 recommended activities to keep Christ in Christmas.  Two that we do every year are to make a birthday cake for Jesus that we enjoy on Christmas Day and to decorate our tree only with purple ornaments during the Advent season.  (After Advent is over, we change out the decorations to more “fun” decorations as the kids say.)

    Focus On Family Activities

    Before the Christmas season arrives, consider sitting down with your children and telling them that Christmas this year will be focused more on giving than getting.

    Ask them to consider some fun activities they’d like to do as a family this holiday season such as watching a holiday movie together, decorating the Christmas tree together, making holiday treats together, etc.

    Also, consider asking each child to have one of their gifts be a family gift.

    They could ask for a family membership to the local amusement park or a family membership to the local museum, or a small, weekend trip you could take together.

    Focus On Appreciation And Gratitude

    It’s easy to take family members for granted.

    This holiday season, draw names from a hat, and each family member writes five to 10 things they appreciate about the person whose name they drew.  As you write the list, you’ll be more grateful for the person, and the person will feel more appreciated, as will you when you hear what someone has written about you.

    In addition, decide how you’ll help others this holiday season.

    You might make personal care kits filled with items like deodorant, soap, razors, etc. for the local shelter.  Or, you could pick a name off a Christmas tree at a local store or at your church and buy a gift for a child in need. You could volunteer at a soup kitchen.

    Our family volunteers once a month at our church helping to make 200 sack lunches for the homeless, but in December, we’ll find some other activities to do also.

    Helping others not only makes you feel good, but it also helps to make you grateful for all that you have.  That is a reminder all of us need from time to time.

    I’m not saying don’t spend money this Christmas, but why not try to make Christmas more meaningful this year?

    Why not focus on helping others and spending time together as a family rather than on the never-ending rat race of buying more and more and more gifts all the while feeling more frustrated and less satisfied this holiday season?

    What do you do to bring the true meaning of Christmas into focus and to tune out the retailers pleas that you must spend more and more money?


    Start The Year Right With A No Spend Month

    If you’re like most of the people in the country, this holiday season, you may have eaten and bought too much despite your best intentions.

    The holidays are a time of excess, even if you try hard to avoid it.

    Many people find January or February an ideal time to cut back and restore balance in their lives.

    One perfect way to do this is to have a no spend month or a spending freeze.

    Have a no spend month

    Have a no spend month

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    restore balance to my life.  One way to do that is to be more mindful of how I spend money and to use what I already have.

    If you can’t have a no spend month in January, February is also a great month, plus it’s three days shorter than January.

    How do you restore balance after the holidays?  Do you have a no spend month or a pantry challenge?


    8 Low Cost Ways To Improve Your Home’s Appearance

    If you’ve been in your house a few years, you may notice that its original luster is wearing.

    When you first buy a house, the previous owners will likely have spent a lot of time and energy making the house look as appealing as possible.

    Just a few years after living in the house, however, you’ll likely find the time has come to make improvements and bump up the home’s visual appeal.

    You don’t have to spend a lot of money making your home look spic and span and real-estate-listing ready (even if you have no intention of selling your home).

    In fact, there are several low-cost ways that you can make your home look like it did when you first bought it.

    ways to improve your home's appearance

    ways to improve your home's appearance

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    to simply declutter.  You might even be able to make a little money with your extra stuff!

    Wash The Walls

    If you haven’t washed the walls, that may be an easy (and free) first step to improve the interior of your home.

    I noticed certain areas of our walls, usually on corners, about shin high that were much darker than the rest of the wall.  I wiped them down, and the walls looked much better.

    I later found that they were in spots where our cat would rub his face on the corner.

    Paint With Neutral Colors

    ways to improve your home's appearance - neutral color paint

    ways to improve your home's appearance - neutral color paintIf washing the walls doesn’t improve the look of your home as much as you would like, consider a fresh coat of paint.  However, if you’re going to go through the hassle of painting your walls to improve your interior, why not choose neutral colors?

    Often you don’t know when you’ll move; sometimes you unexpectedly have to move due to a job loss or family illness.  If you choose neutral colors, you will likely be helping yourself when it’s time to sell.

    My friend recently tried to sell her house, and doing so took her much longer than expected.  Although her house looked nice inside, I can’t help but wonder if the electric blue walls she had throughout the home discouraged potential buyers.

    Clean Up The Landscaping

    In as little as a year or two, without regular attention, your landscaping can look overrun. Bushes become too big for the yard, trees have overhanging branches that need to be trimmed.

    Improve the curb appeal of your home by trimming bushes, taking care of dead leaves, and putting down new rocks or grass.

    Power Wash

    Likewise, you don’t notice how grimy your exterior is until you clean it.

    Borrow or rent a power washer to remove the built-up grime from your sidewalks and cement porches, the exterior walls of your home, and your deck.

    You’ll be shocked how much dirt you remove and how much better your home looks after you’re done. Maintaining your home by doing things like washing it can greatly add to it’s appeal.

    Replace Outdoor Welcome Mats

    If you have outdoor welcome mats, they’re subject to wind, rain, snow and sun damage.

    Under these circumstances, they turn shabby rather quickly, so make sure to replace them at least once a year.  Your home will look that much more inviting.

    Paint Kitchen Cabinets And Bathroom Cabinets

    Are your cabinets from the 80s?

    If so, you can improve them for a little cash and a lot of elbow grease by painting them yourself.

    We have blond kitchen cabinets that are so old, the paint has worn completely through in some places.  This winter when it’s cooler, we plan to sand and repaint them.  Doing so will vastly improve the look of our kitchen.

    If you’re repainting the cabinets, don’t forget to add stylish handles and knobs to complete the look.

    Update Light Fixtures

    Light fixtures can make a room look dated.  Both of our bathrooms have dressing room type lighting strips, which I hate.  We also plan to replace these.

    We’ll buy the fixtures ourselves and hire an electrician to actually replace them.

    If your home is looking a little worn and dated, these low-cost improvements can give it a whole new look.

    What other frugal home improvements do you recommend to improve the look of your home?


    How To Show Hospitality On A Budget: Entertaining When Money Is Tight

    Hospitality often seems like a dying art thanks to our busy, go go go society.

    Yet, hospitality is so important that the Bible is filled with sayings about it.

    One of my favorites is:

    Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares – Hebrews 13:2”.

    Even if you make the time to be hospitable, you may still be worried about the financial cost to do so.  Making others feel welcome in your home, however, does not have to require a lot of additional money.

    With some strategic planning on your part, you can welcome others into your home and be an accommodating host without damaging your budget.

    How To Show Hospitality On A Budget

    How To Show Hospitality On A Budget

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    have food on hand as teens are always hungry!

    There are simply yet tasty foods you can stock for this purpose.  A homemade loaf of bread along with butter, jam, and nut butter can go a long way and tastes delicious.  Consider buying popcorn kernels so you can pop your own popcorn, perfect for study groups and movie night, plus, it’s so cheap!

    Simple Drinks To Offer

    You don’t have to spend a lot of money on fruit drinks and soda pops.

    If you want soda, stock up when it goes on sale, but for many parents, that strategy doesn’t work because their kids drink the soda all up when they see an abundance.

    Instead, offer more healthful frugal drinks like sun tea, coffee, tea, and water.

    Double Your Meals

    When I was young, I had a best friend, Cindy.  Cindy’s mom never, ever cooked.  Cindy and her brother just lived off simple meals they could put together with canned and microwavable foods.  Not surprisingly, Cindy often found ways to invite herself to Sunday dinners at my house.  For several months, this drove my mom crazy as our money was tight, and she didn’t want to feed Cindy every week.  However, after a few months, she automatically made our Sunday dinners a bit bigger to account for Cindy’s inevitable presence.  She even took on a positive attitude by reminding herself that at least once a week Cindy got a nice, home cooked meal.  After we grew up, Cindy told me how much she enjoyed having Sunday dinner with us.

    Hospitality is something highly recommended and praised in the Bible, and it’s something that can make us feel good if we offer it with an open and giving heart.  A tight budget doesn’t have to stop you from being hospitable.

    How do you practice hospitality when your resources are limited?


    How To Get A Credit If Your Amazon Prime Delivery Is Late

    Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

    Amazon Prime was first launched back in 2005, and shortly thereafter our family signed up to take advantage of the reduced rates on shipping.

    The service first launched at a $79/year price point, and over the years it has gone up to $119/year while adding a number of benefits besides the free 2-day shipping.

    Amazon Prime now also includes Amazon Prime Video, Prime Music, free Kindle e-books, unlimited photo storage, exclusive access to great deals on Amazon products and more.

    Amazon Prime Late Delivery Can Mean A Credit

    Amazon Prime Late Delivery Can Mean A Credit

    We buy a lot of things via Amazon, and watch a lot of the Prime Video, and as such we definitely get our money’s worth. We’ve been extremely happy with the service.

    Over the years Amazon seems to always be adding new features to Prime, often these perks were available and I didn’t even realize it.

    This week I discovered something new. If you order an item, and it has a guaranteed delivery date on your checkout page, if it doesn’t arrive on the promised date, you could receive a refund of your shipping fees.  But it’s not just going to happen automatically, you have to request compensation.

    Let’s take a look at what I did in order to get a credit applied to my account.

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    Prime members free 2-day shipping on millions of products on their store, but what happens if your package is delivered late?  Sometimes it happens, and it can cause an inconvenience if an item doesn’t arrive when you were expecting it.

    After we had a package miss it’s promised delivery this past week I learned that Amazon may actually compensate you if an item doesn’t make it’s guaranteed delivery date.

    Here’s how Amazon describes the guarantee, and it’s caveats, on their FAQ page:

    If we provide a guaranteed delivery date on the checkout page, your shipping fees may be refunded if we miss our promised delivery date. The following requirements must be met to qualify for a delivery guarantee refund:

    • Shipping method selected is shipping option advertised on a product detail page.
    • Order is shipping to eligible address.
    • Order is placed before “order within” countdown listed on the checkout page. The “order within” countdown timer provides the window of time in which you must place your order to receive your delivery by the date shown. That delivery date may become unavailable within that window of time due to changes in inventory or delivery capacity before you place your order. Your confirmed delivery date is included in your order confirmation E-mail. Contact us with any concerns.
    • If you order contains items that aren’t eligible for guaranteed delivery, shipping preference “Ship my items as they become available” is selected.
    • Your credit or debit card must be successfully charged before the deadline displayed on the checkout page.
    • The guarantee does not apply if we miss our promised delivery date because of an unforeseen circumstance outside of our control, such as a strike, natural disaster, or severe winter storm. Also, delivery scans might be inaccurate.
      • An attempted delivery on or before the guaranteed delivery date meets our delivery guarantee.
      • An offer by the carrier of a delivery appointment on or before the guaranteed delivery date meets our delivery guarantee

    So if you find that your order meets all of the requirements above, you may be eligible to receive compensation in some form.

    What Compensation Can You Expect For A Late Amazon Delivery?

    So what compensation can someone expect to receive from Amazon for a delivery that has missed it’s guaranteed delivery date?

    The answer seems to be that it depends.

    In checking with others who have successfully asked for compensation, it can range anywhere from receiving a credit on their account, to a free month of Amazon Prime, to a full refund on the item and and shipping cost. So it can vary widely.

    Here are a few examples of what other customers received when I did a search online:

    • Full refund of item and shipping cost.
    • $40 Amazon credit after repeated late deliveries.
    • $10 Amazon credit.
    • $5 Amazon credit.
    • Free month of Amazon Prime + 30% refund of the order.
    • 4 late deliveries lead to free month of Amazon Prime, $30 credit, one $15 item for free.
    • Free month of Amazon Prime.

    The most common compensation that I’ve seen is a free month of Amazon Prime, but it does appear pretty common for people to receive Amazon credit as well. I think the amount received tends to vary depending on the cost of the product, the number of late deliveries, and possibly other factors.

    How To Get Compensation For Your Late Amazon Delivery

    Once you’ve determined that you’re probably eligible to receive compensation for your late Amazon delivery, how do you go about receiving that compensation?

    You need to contact Amazon. To contact Amazon it’s best to go through their “Contact Us” page.

    When you get to the contact page you’ll see a list of items currently being shipped to your delivery address, and you can see tracking details, order numbers and expected arrival time and more of those items.

    To request compensation, at the top of the screen just choose that you need help with “An order I placed“.

    Amazon Prime Late Delivery - contact amazon

    Amazon Prime Late Delivery - contact amazon

    After choosing which order you’re inquiring about, under #2 just select “Where’s my stuff?” from the first drop down box.  Next, choose “Shipment is late” on the second drop down.

    Amazon Prime Late Delivery - contact amazon

    Amazon Prime Late Delivery - contact amazon

    Finally, under #3 you can contact Amazon either by live chat or by phone.  Personally I prefer to do things on the chat because I don’t want to be sitting on a phone call listening to hold music. The chat is usually pretty quick and you can leave the window open while they investigate your issue.

    Amazon Prime Late Delivery - contact amazon

    Amazon Prime Late Delivery - contact amazon

    Once your chat agent arrives, it’s just a matter of inquiring about your late package delivery, and asking politely for some sort of compensation.

    Here’s the full transcript of my chat with the Amazon agent:

    Amazon Prime Late Delivery

    Amazon Prime Late Delivery

    So essentially I was polite, inquired about receiving compensation, and then gave them the order number of the order in question so that they could look it up and see if I was eligible for a credit.

    In this case they were happy to give me a $15 Amazon credit on my account, which comes out to about 40% of the order total.  Not too bad for 5 minutes of work.

    Here’s the text in case you care to edit it for your own use:

    I am inquiring about a late package delivery.  I read that Amazon may compensate customers in cases where packages don’t arrive by the guaranteed delivery date, and it causes an inconvenience.  Is there anything you can do since the package was supposed to arrive on X day, and it still hasn’t arrived X days later?

    Remember to be polite and engaging when you contact them, you’ll likely have more luck with the agent if you’re nice. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, as the old saying goes.

    Use Paribus To Track Your Late Deliveries And Request Credit Automatically

    Paribus Delivery Monitoring

    Paribus Delivery Monitoring If you’re interested in taking advantage of the guaranteed delivery promise, but you don’t really want to track your deliveries and whether they’re on time, there is another option.

    A while back I wrote about a service called Paribus that would track your online purchases from Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart and other stores, and if the price went down it would request an automatic price match refund either from your credit card price match policy, or the service itself. I used the Paribus service and received several decent sized refunds from my credit card provider.

    Paribus (which is owned by Capital One) also recently added a new service called “Delivery Monitoring” where they “automatically identify and track the shipment of purchases made at select online retailers, including Amazon and Walmart. If an online order is delivered to you later than the retailer promised, Paribus will contact the merchant to request compensation“.

    So just sign up for Paribus, turn on “Delivery Monitoring” feature in your settings, and then any purchases you make in your linked Amazon or Wal-Mart accounts will be tracked for on time delivery, and compensation requested automatically when they’re late.

    Take Advantage Of All The Perks You’re Paying For With Amazon Prime

    For me the process of requesting compensation for a late delivery with Amazon was easy and was completed within 5 minutes.  For my time I got a $15 credit, almost 40% of the cost of the items I had purchased.  That’s not too shabby!

    Since you can track your shipments and request credit automatically for free via Paribus, there’s no excuse not to get compensated when your package arrives late.

    Also, if you shop at Amazon regularly, don’t forget to take advantage of offers to win or earn free Amazon gift cards!

    Have you received a credit or free month of Prime after your package was delivered late? Tell us your experience in the comments!


    Swagbucks Review: What Is It, How Does It Work And What Can You Win?

    Have you heard of Swagbucks?

    Many people have, but don’t know exactly what it is or how it works.

    Now that Swagbucks just celebrated their tenth birthday, more and more people are learning about this reputable company (which has earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau) that helps you earn free gift cards, cash and prizes.



    Chances are, when you learn more about this company, you’ll become a Swagbucks enthusiast like me!

    Open Your FREE Swagbucks Account Now!

    Use our link to get a $5 signup bonus, and use promo code “BMONEYMATTERS” when you register you’ll get an extra 70 points called SB

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    If you do nothing more than search the Internet a few times a day (and don’t we all do that?), you could easily earn 7 to 10 points called SB a day.

    Earn 300 SB (which is possible in 3 to 5 weeks with minimal effort), and you could redeem your points for a $3 Amazon gift card.

    In general, every 100 SB earns you a $1 toward an Amazon gift card. 300 SB for $3 Amazon gift card, or 500 SB for a $5 Amazon gift card.  However, you can earn a $25 Amazon gift card for just 2,200 SB points!

    How To Sign Up For Swagbucks

    Swagbucks Review - Is It A Scam?

    Swagbucks Review - Is It A Scam?

    Signing up for Swagbucks is simple.

    Simply go to the Swagbuck’s page and either sign in with Facebook, or fill out a simple form with your e-mail address and a password that you choose for your Swagbucks account.

    Open Your FREE Swagbucks Account Now!

    Registration is free, and right now you’ll eligible to get a $5 bonus for signing up!

    Once you are signed up, make sure you stay signed in so you can use Swagbucks to search the Internet and earn points.

    How To Earn SB

    There are many ways to earn SB.  If you use it to search the Internet, you will randomly earn points.  I have earned anywhere from 7 to 79 points at one time. Those points continue to accrue until you redeem them for your rewards.

    Swagbucks Review

    Swagbucks Review

    In addition to searching the Internet, there are many other ways to earn points:

    • Watch television programming.  Like to find new recipes?  Watch the Food Network videos.  Or watch videos streamed right from Hulu as well as clips on news (regular and celebrity), tech, etc. on Swagbucks and earn SB points.  (They have many quick two to three minute shows that you can watch to earn points.)
    • Encourage your friends to join.  If your friends sign up for Swagbucks with your referral link, you will get 10% of their Swagbucks earning for life!  This can be a great way to watch your balance grow with minimal effort on your part, especially if you have several friends join.
    • Use coupons.  If you routinely print coupons off the Internet, print them from Swagbucks.  For every coupon you redeem at the grocery store, you earn 10 SB
    • Take a poll.  There are usually short, one question polls that you can answer.  This takes less than 10 seconds, and you can earn a SB point.
    • Meet your daily Swagbucks goal.  Every day, Swagbucks sets an earning goal for you.  For instance, they may set a goal of earning 30 SB.  If you’re able to do that, say for 7 days in a row, you’ll earn an additional 25 SB.
    • Play games. You can play a variety of games in the games section to earn SB.
    • Use the special offers section.  This section isn’t something I’d use just to get SB (though some people do), but it can be a great way to earn SB points on something you were already going to do.  For instance, if you were going to sign up for a Target Red Debit or Credit Card anyway, why not do it through Swagbucks and earn 215 SB points?

    This section is Swagbucks highest earning vertical.  There are plenty of special offers to choose from.

    These are just a few ways to earn rewards; there are many more, some more labor intensive than others.

    I usually just have time for the polls and searching the Internet, and I still earned enough in a year to redeem for Amazon gift cards and get a few presents for my kids at Christmas.

    Swagbucks Browser Extension

    Swagbucks has a browser extension that you can install in your browser as well.

    Swagbucks review browser extension

    Swagbucks review browser extension

    In my Chrome browser I have it installed and it will notify you when there is cash back available for a store you’re shopping at. Just click on the button that pops up to activate the cash back, and a short while after you complete your purchase the SB will be added to your account.

    It also will tell you when there are coupon codes available at a certain store and apply them for you, saving you additional money!

    What it comes down to is adding the extension will likely save you quite a bit of money! It takes the work out of remembering to go to a cash back site – it does it for you automatically.

    Swagbucks Hack To Triple Your Savings

    Her’s a hack that I have started using in order to triple my savings when shopping online. I use Swagbucks in conjunction with two other providers, Honey and Gift Card Granny.

    Here’s how it works.

    1. Activate Swagbucks cash back: First, go to the shopping site where you want to save money.  Activate your Swabgucks cash back via your browser extension. It should pop up automatically if you have it installed and ask you to “activate cash back”.
    2. Use Honey to get a coupon code: After you find the item you wanted to buy, add it to your cart and begin the checkout process. On the checkout page where they have a space for coupon codes, use the Honey browser extension to search for available coupon codes, to save you more money!
    3. Buy a discounted gift card from Gift Card Granny: Figure out your order’s total, and then buy a gift card at Gift Card Granny to cover the cost. You can often find gift cards for popular retailers at a big discount. For example, a $100 gift card for $85. Purchase the gift card and use it when checking out.

    When you do these three things, you’ll save using Swagbucks cash back, by using a Honey coupon code, and by getting a discount on a gift card to pay for your order.  Triple the savings!

    How Much Can You Earn With Swagbucks?

    Once you’ve earned enough points you can redeem your SB for an Amazon gift card, but there are hundreds of other ways to also redeem your points.  Choose from a wide range of retailers—Amazon, Target, Lands End, Chili’s, Starbucks, Whole Foods, Walmart, Sears, and many more.

    There are hundreds of prizes to choose from, and if you want to make your SB points stretch further, look for the sale category where they temporarily discount how many SB certain items can be redeemed for.

    They say that nothing in life is free, but if you search the Internet using Swagbucks, utilize the cash back tools and engage on their site you will earn enough SB points to redeem for some nice free gifts.

    Have you used Swagbucks?  If so, what have you earned?

    If you use promo code “BMONEYMATTERS” when you register you’ll get an extra 70 SB.

    Get Your Free 70 SB When You Open Swagbucks Account Now!

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    Swagbucks Review


    Swagbucks Review




    • Lots of reward options including PayPal
    • Great cash back options
    • Browser extension works great
    • In store cash back
    • Lots of ways to earn points


    • Some offers require a lot to get SB


    Here Is What It’s Like To Drive A Car Until It Dies

    Fourteen years ago, my husband and I had our first child, and just three months after he was born, we bought a minivan. A Toyota Sienna, to be exact.

    We planned to own the car for a while, especially since we bought it brand new, but honestly, I never thought that 14 years and 193,000 miles later we’d still be driving that vehicle.

    drive a car until it dies

    drive a car until it dies

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    pay if off early.

    We paid it off in four years, so we’ve driven that vehicle for the last 10 years without making a single payment.  The only expenses we’ve had are routine repairs, replacements, and requisite license plate tabs.

    Glamorous It’s Not

    I’ll admit, now that the car is quite a bit older, it’s certainly not the envy of the neighborhood.

    In fact, my kids, especially my older two who are 14 and almost 10, find it quite embarrassing.  However, it’s been a very reliable car, and we plan to keep it until it finally gives out completely.

    Our van had one electric sliding door and one manual.  As is common for electric doors, ours stopped working at about year 10.  I didn’t want to pay the $1,500 plus that it would cost to fix it, so we just stopped using that door.

    About two years ago, our passenger manual door outside handle became loose.  No biggie.  We just opened the driver’s side door, reached into the back, and used the inside handle to open the slide door.

    Was that embarrassing?  Yes, but why spend money when the door did work, just not in a conventional way?

    We’ll Never Wash The Car Again

    We joke that we’ll never wash the car again, and we probably won’t.  The dirt might be the only thing holding it together at this point!

    A year ago we were at a manual car wash when the outside handle that was loose completely broke off.  That, even I can admit, was embarrassing. A motorcyclist was there, and he just stared at us.

    My kids were so embarrassed.

    When it broke off, we could no longer open the door from the inside, either, so we had to admit defeat and pay $700 to get that door handle fixed.

    Surely, that was a fluke, right, and a car wash every now and then would be fine, right?  Right?

    Yeah, no.

    This summer, we again tried to wash the car at a manual car wash.  After my husband hosed down the car, I heard a loud pop, much like a gun shot.

    I looked all around, but didn’t see anything.  Then, I started washing the car and the passenger window on the electronic door that does not work just completely shattered.  Glass filled our entire interior.

    We had heard a rock hit the car a few weeks before when we were on the highway, and I think that weakened the window before the car wash.

    The Air Conditioner Gives Out

    This summer, our air conditioner gave out, which isn’t a good thing in the middle of an Arizona summer when temperatures routinely reach 110 degrees daily.  The problem ended up being two-fold, and we had to pay $2,500.

    I can see the day is near when we’ll need to replace this vehicle, but I’m hoping we can hold out for a few more years.

    After all, even with car repairs and routine maintenance, owning this vehicle for the past 14 years has been much cheaper than owning a newer model that needs fewer repairs but requires a monthly payment.

    What is the longest you have ever owned a vehicle?  What finally made you decide to take the plunge and buy a new vehicle?  Are you comfortable with driving a car that others may find embarrassing just so you can save money?