Repost Saving for Santa Series PART 3: Don’t Place that Order YET! – 2014 Updated

This post may contain sponsored or affiliate links.

 

I told you in Part 2 about how many amazing deals come out through online sites during the major shopping seasons, specifically Cyber Monday. Many of those deals will include Free Shipping, but some of them won’t. Many sites that you may have credit or a gift card for will allow the gift cards to cover shipping, but some won’t. Even if they do, why waste that money on shipping. So, it is VERY important to have Free Shipping.

There is a site called Shoprunner and they will give you free TWO DAY shipping to many stores that we will see deals for during the holidays. You can get a free 30-day membership when you sign up. So, I don’t encourage you to do that just yet. I will remind you to do so right before Thanksgiving and explain it a little better at that point. That way, the 30 days should cover you through the majority of the shopping season. But, I want you to be aware of and familiar with it. I actually scored a YEAR for free in January, so I am excited to have it through the holidays this year and am hoping that the same deal comes up again! You will see the picture below if your items are eligible for Shoprunner benefits:

This is something that you will look for at the end of a transaction and it could save you SIGNIFICANT money on shipping AND time, since it’s 2 day shipping and many sites standard is 5-8 days. So, keep this in the back of your mind and we will visit it again soon.

 

Now, something that you can do on the FRONT END of an online transaction, is to shop through a site that gives you cash back. There are two major sites that I use. The first is Ebates.

Ebates - Where it pays to shop!

EBATES is an online shopping site that provides rebates to many, if not all of your online purchases.

How it works:

When you log onto EBATES, there is a list of hundreds, if not thousands of websites. They have everything from Walmart to small sites that you may have never heard of. Travel, clothing, eBay, Shutterfly….literally thousands! You click on their link to whatever site you want to shop on and you will see what % you will receive back. Once you click on “SHOP NOW”, the new site opens and EBATES goes away after showing you a tracking ticket. Then, you proceed through checkout just as normal. The difference is that EBATES keeps track of your online spending and gives you that designated percentage back. You will also get to choose a $10 gift card upon sign up and you will receive it once you have made a qualifying purchase of $25 or more. You will get this in addition to the rebate that you earn on that same purchase and any others made that quarter.

Get in the habit of checking there first before buying online. If you are checking prices between different sites, check all of those sites’ cash back rate, too. Then, once you determine what is the best price, go through EBATES for the actual purchase.

Search all stores (on left – top) – Alphabet for narrowing search.

**You must have $5.01 in actual rebate money before your quarterly Big Fat Check is released. Rebate money as opposed to referral money. You can opt for your rebates to go to Paypal and this money is available quicker than having a paper check mailed.

**Referrals – $5 referral credit is added to your account once they purchase.

**Referral bonus – There is always a referral bonus going on Currently -Referral bonus – There is always a referral bonus going on Currently (7/1/14 -9/30/14)-If you refer JUST TWO friends who sign up through your referral link and makes a purchase of $25 or more, you will receive an additional $40 bonus! (This is in addition to your standard $5/person fee, making it $25/person for those 2!) You will get this money with your Quarterly Big Fat Check which will be issued around mid-November. These bonuses are usually triggered when you refer AT LEAST 3 or 4 friends. So, to get FIVE times the standard bonus for JUST TWO friends is well worth it! DO IT!

Here is the payment schedule (I have paypal and usually get my payments around the 13th):

Purchases Posted Between Big Fat Check Sent
Jan 1-Mar 31 May 15
Apr 1-June 30 Aug 15
July 1-Sept 30 Nov 15
Oct 1-Dec 31 Feb 15

Keep track of what you should be getting in case it doesn’t show up. I used to have a problem with certain rebates posting. So, keep track of what you should be getting. You can submit for a refund if they miss one, but you must have the tracking ticket #, your receipt and all of the dates and times have to match up. You should be able to find all of this info in your account history and you can find your tracking tickets stored on EBATES.

Consider ordering your big-ticket items, i.e. appliances, expensive toys,travel, hotels, etc. from the stores’ websites by way of EBATES. If you can get free site to store shipping, this is a good way to save an extra $20 to $30. I have done this with motherboards for my refrigerator and oven as well as a power wheels toy and my new LG washing machine!

**I currently have made $3277.00 through Ebates since 2007. But, being in the situation that we have been for the past few years, I haven’t shopped much. A large majority of this was referral bonuses, meaning pure profit, no rebates.  This is not a scam. It is completely legitimate and if you shop online, it is just Free money back that you would have spent otherwise. Check it out here and start piling up those rebates!

 

The 2nd site is very similar to EBATES. It is called ShopAtHome. It is a good one to have, because sometimes their rebate percentages may be higher to the same store than EBATES is offering. Other times, vice versa. So, it is good to be connected with both. The other major difference in the two is that ShopAtHome requires $20 in rebate money to release your check. But, once you hit that $20, their checks are issued the next month. I personally have lots of referral credits, but have never received a check from ShopAtHome because I haven’t hit that $20 threshold yet. So, be aware of that. You will also get a $5 bonus upon your first purchase with ShopAtHome.

So, to sum it up, you can add savings on both ends of many of your online purchases. Find your item, then check both Ebates and ShopAtHome to see what percentage of rebate they are offering at the store you are shopping. Choose the higher one and be sure that you click through their site when you are ready to check out so that they track your actual purchase. Then, look for the Shoprunner logo to save the shipping fees! Go ahead and sign up for these two (EBATES here and ShopAtHome here) as they are free all the time and you can always use these sites. Be sure to tell your friends about them, too! You will get $5 for each friend that signs up and makes a purchase!

You will see me mention all three of these sites more and more as we get closer to that “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”!

 

REPOST 2014- Saving for Santa PART 2 – Gift Cards will Save you BIG BUCKS

This post may contain sponsored or affiliate links.

If you are new to this series, WELCOME! We are planning on having lots of cash stashed away in a safe place before Christmas Shopping season is in full swing. So, you are joining us just in time! You can also catch up by reading through Part 1.

One of the best things that I was able to do last year was to purchase TONS of Christmas gifts on Amazon.

Amazon starts matching Black Friday deals when the stores open Thanksgiving night and continued to have amazing bargains up until there was not enough time left to ship. So, while some of you Black Friday Ninjas were standing outside and fighting other ninjas, I was at my laptop, in my jammies, (maybe even with ANOTHER plate of dinner………..yummm) getting the SAME prices as you, but in most cases, with much better stocked inventory! But then…..oh, but then, when Cyber Monday rolls around! Holy Smokes! I think I posted about 35 different posts last year on Cyber Monday and probably the majority was from Amazon. I am sooo looking forward to it this year! So, you should all be ready for it, too!

So, anyway – Why Amazon? Other than the fact that you can get great deals, you can also get free shipping if you are an Amazon Prime member, or if your order equals $35. My trial Prime membership ran out over a year ago, but I still have never paid for shipping. I can always find SOMETHING to bump my total to $35 to get that free shipping. It seems that they offer it to me every other year.  If you want to wait, I will alert you when it’s the best time to join that 30 day trial and get the most out of the 30 days!

BUT! Above and beyond the great prices and free shipping….it’s even better than that when you have credits in your Amazon account and those smoking deals become SMOLDERING Freebies! I know that many of my readers are on the Swagbucks bandwagon, but some new folks may not quite understand it. So, if you are new and don’t have a clue what a Swagbuck is, YOU NEED TO!

Briefly, Swagbucks is a search engine (similar to and powered by Google). You search the web, you win swagbucks. It’s a random thing and not every time. But, you should hit several times a day if you use it regularly. You may win 7 or 10 or even 20 Swagbucks on a search. You let them all build up and then cash them out for gift cards. That’s right! What you do on Google….you could be earning giftcards for! The best deal (as in Swagbucks to $$ ratio) is the $5 Amazon card. You can get it for 450 Swagbucks. All other $5 cards are 500 SB and the same ratio applies to larger value cards. You will get 30 bucks when you sign up and start earning more right away. (You can read more about Swagbucks and all of it’s wonder, plus other ways to earn bucks HERE. )

***NEW USERS CAN GET BONUS SIGNUP POINTS!! MUST DO FOLLOW BELOW INSTRUCTIONS FIRST!!!***

You get 30 bucks for finishing your profile on the site, but if you use my very own special code NORTHSHORE70 before, you will get 70 bonus bucks! That will put you at 100 Swagbucks before you make your first search! It only takes 450 to earn your first $5 Amazon gift card, so you are almost 25% of the way there when you sign up!! ***This is a BONUS code that must be entered upon Sign Up! So, be sure to look for the link that says “I have a Sign Up Code” under the CONFIRM PASSWORD field (see pic below) ***If for some reason, you do not have this field (prob due to the mobile device you are using; i.e. iPhone 4), you can email their Help desk and ask them to give you credit for this particular code.**

swag sign up arrow

Now, if you are not convinced that you MUST be prepared to shop on Amazon, that’s ok. You can also get gift cards to many MAJOR retail outlets (JCP, Macy’s, Bass Pro, Cabella’s, Home Depot, CVS, and PAYPAL if you prefer cash!) with your Swagbucks.

CLICK HERE to SIGN UP and get started saving those points!

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This was an afterthought and was my “Part 2-B” when I wrote this series. But, I think it’s good enough to be included with this…

You may or may not know that I get paid (albeit, a very small amount) for my blog. I get paid for referring leads to deals. I don’t get paid for everything I post, but for some things, I get paid a few cents per click, or per sign up, or per print session. But, blogging for money is all about sharing and referring friends. This is the information age! We know things seconds after they happen! So, you have to utilize technology and especially social networking to your advantage. That is why I ask you to share these deals with your friends!

MANY sites that I promote offer deals where YOU can earn credits for referrals. Most Living Social deals allow you to post your special link after you buy, and if three people buy from it, your deal is free! Groupon offers $10 if you refer a friend who signs up through your link and makes a purchase. So, because of this, I get LOTS of my deals that I promote to you FREE. I have many credits for Groupon, so I get all of my Groupons Free. I only buy Living Social deals that I really want. Usually, I have AT LEAST three of you that really want them, too. So, mine are free.

With Swagbucks, that I introduced to you in Part 2, for every friend that you refer, you get their winning search points matched up to 1,000 Swagbucks per friend. That is worth more than $10 in Amazon cards per person! That is why I have so many swagbucks! I have hundreds of referrals. But, before I launched my blog, I still managed to make about $20 or so in gift cards per month with just my useage and a couple of friends. So, be sure to refer your friends to Swagbucks to help boost your bucks! You can do this but going to the Refer A Friend link in the upper right corner of their homepage. Invite anyone that you know! You would be surprised how fast they will add up once you get a couple of friends on the bandwagon with you!

You should ALWAYS look for a refer a friend option in ANY rewards program that you are using. It could mean more cash, points or whatever – for you!

**REPOST** Saving for Santa Series – PART 1 – updated for 2014

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Santa Cash Stash

This is a series that I wrote two years ago. It’s kinda like BOOT CAMP for saving up for Christmas. Santa Boots, that is! ;)  I will tweak it a little to make sure that it is all relevant for this year. But, for the most part, it’s just some ideas and tips on how I pay for Christmas without going broke!

Now, I know that some people don’t want to hear anything about Christmas while it is 95 degrees outside. But here is the deal: If you want to save money, you have to be prepared and find the deals when everyone else is not looking! So, if you can afford to spend $1000 at Christmas without batting an eye, then you may disregard this post. But, if you want to save money and enjoy Christmas without the stress of last minute, high priced purchases…then feel free to follow along.  I will tweak and update all the posts and get them up for you today.

Enjoy and please share!

 

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I think about how so many people spend WAY too much money at Christmas time and that I should try to intervene. So, I decided to start a series called “Saving for Santa”. I will write a post weekly or so  with tips on stashing away extra cash to use for Christmas shopping. If you are already done with your shopping (then I hate you), then you can certainly use these same principles for a vacation fund, spending money that your husband doesn’t know about ;) or just for extra payments on a bill that you find repulsive and need to annihilate.

So, to start things off, I am going to repost an article that I have already posted, but explain why this is relevant as Step 1.

STEP 1: CREATE A SAFEHOUSE FOR YOUR STASH

You need to have somewhere to house this extra money that you can’t easily get to. I mean, if you put it in your regular checking account, then in my experience, it just becomes “regular money” and goes bye-bye with the rest of it. So, if you can put the money in an account that is #1 earning you a good bit of interest with NO FEES and #2 you (nor your hubby and kids) can’t dip into it very easily, then it will be less of a temptation to take it and use it now.

That being said, I encourage you to check into Capital One 360. It is an online bank account that I have had for over a year now. I only put a few dollars in to open it. Then, when my debit card came in, I activated it and used the card to make three purchases. I bought my Sunday papers and one other thing (3 transactions). Once my 3rd transaction was made, I automatically qualified for a $50 bonus. That bonus was applied to my account on the 50th day after activating my card. So, not only do I have an account to stash extra $$ into, but they paid me $50 just for opening it. I like to call this “Lagniappe Money”! That $50 plus a few extras are still in that account. I have a debit card that I can use if I need it, but it takes a day or so to transfer money back and forth between my regular account at my local bank. It can be done, but it’s not immediate. That makes me less likely to drag that money over and spend it now. If an emergency (or a deal that can’t be passed up) should arise, then I have the debit card that I can use. Win/win!

Trust me, it is totally legit and I have been more than pleased with them thus far.

So, to recap – this allows you to have a safe place away from bill money to stash your savings AND you will get $100 to kick off your fund! Also, if hubby handles your checking account, he won’t see what you bought for him! You can finally surprise him! ;)

Just click here to set up your account.  Once you receive your debit card, activate it and THAT will start the day count. Use that debit card at least 3 times within the first 45 days and on day 50, you will get a cool $50 bucks!

 

 

 

**REPOST** 70 Days till Black Friday! Read my tips to get ready for what I call CHRISTMAS CRAZY!!

This post may contain sponsored or affiliate links.

This was a series I ran last year…..all info is still relevant today. It’s just 70 days until Black Friday 2013, so you have time to get this $50 bonus to spend on the sales!!

I thought about how so many people spend WAY too much money at Christmas time and that I should try to intervene. So, I decided to start a series called “Saving for Santa”. I will write a post weekly or so (we’ll see how it goes) with tips on stashing away extra cash to use for Christmas shopping. If you are already done with your shopping (then I hate you), then you can certainly use these same principles for a vacation fund, spending money that your husband doesn’t know about ;) or just for extra payments on a bill that you find repulsive and need to annihilate.

So, to start things off, I am going to repost an article that I have already posted, but explain why this is relevant as Step 1.

STEP 1: CREATE A SAFEHOUSE FOR YOUR STASH

You need to have somewhere to house this extra money that you can’t easily get to. I mean, if you put it in your regular checking account, then in my experience, it just becomes “regular money” and goes bye-bye with the rest of it. So, if you can put the money in an account that is #1 earning you a good bit of interest, and #2 you (nor your hubby and kids) can’t dip into it very easily, then it will be less of a temptation to take it and use it now.

That being said, I encourage you to check into Capital One 360. It is an online bank account that I have had for a few months. I only put a few dollars in to open it. Then, when my debit card came in, I activated it and used the card to make three purchases. I bought my Sunday papers and one other thing (3 transactions). Once my 3rd transaction was made, I automatically qualified for a $50 bonus. That bonus was applied to my account on the 50th day after activating my card. So, not only do I have an account to stash extra $$ into, but they paid me $50 just for opening it. I like to call this “Lagniappe Money”! That $50 plus a few extras are still in that account. I have a debit card that I can use if I need it, but it takes a day or so to transfer money back and forth between my regular account at my local bank. It can be done, but it’s not immediate. That makes me less likely to drag that money over and spend it now. If an emergency (or a deal that can’t be passed up) should arise, then I have the debit card that I can use. Win/win!

You can read more about this account HERE where I explain it in more detail. Trust me, it is totally legit and I have been more than pleased with them thus far.

So, to recap – this allows you to have a safe place away from bill money to stash your savings AND you will get $50 to kick off your fund! Also, if hubby handles your checking account, he won’t see what you bought for him! You can finally surprise him!

Now, if you actively participate in this series, you will be eligible to win a little boost for your stash. I will occasionally giveaway PayPal credits to help you build your stash. So, comment and let me know if you are participating, if you signed up for this account, when you get your card and when you get your bonus. Stay tuned for the next part of the series within the next few days!

Read Part 2 HERE.

** CHRISTMAS IN JULY ~ REPOST** Saving for Santa Series – Part 1 – Earn $100 for your shopping NOW!

This post may contain sponsored or affiliate links.

Since it is July 1 (OMG!!!) already, I thought I would repost this as a “Christmas in July” treat.  Plus, it just so happens that the $50 I talk about below is doubled to $100 for the next couple of days!!!  So, it’s a GREAT time to do this!  Enjoy the recap, and if you are new, this is a series that I will begin soon….this is just a teaser from last year!

 

I thought about how so many people spend WAY too much money at Christmas time and that I should try to intervene. So, I decided to start a series called “Saving for Santa”. I will write a post weekly or so (we’ll see how it goes) with tips on stashing away extra cash to use for Christmas shopping. If you are already done with your shopping (then I hate you), then you can certainly use these same principles for a vacation fund, spending money that your husband doesn’t know about ;) or just for extra payments on a bill that you find repulsive and need to annihilate.

So, to start things off, I am going to repost an article that I have already posted, but explain why this is relevant as Step 1.

STEP 1: CREATE A SAFEHOUSE FOR YOUR STASH

You need to have somewhere to house this extra money that you can’t easily get to. I mean, if you put it in your regular checking account, then in my experience, it just becomes “regular money” and goes bye-bye with the rest of it. So, if you can put the money in an account that is #1 earning you a good bit of interest with NO FEES and #2 you (nor your hubby and kids) can’t dip into it very easily, then it will be less of a temptation to take it and use it now.

That being said, I encourage you to check into Capital One 360. It is an online bank account that I have had for over a year now. I only put a few dollars in to open it. Then, when my debit card came in, I activated it and used the card to make three purchases. I bought my Sunday papers and one other thing (3 transactions). Once my 3rd transaction was made, I automatically qualified for a $50 bonus. That bonus was applied to my account on the 50th day after activating my card. So, not only do I have an account to stash extra $$ into, but they paid me $50 just for opening it. I like to call this “Lagniappe Money”! That $50 plus a few extras are still in that account. I have a debit card that I can use if I need it, but it takes a day or so to transfer money back and forth between my regular account at my local bank. It can be done, but it’s not immediate. That makes me less likely to drag that money over and spend it now. If an emergency (or a deal that can’t be passed up) should arise, then I have the debit card that I can use. Win/win!

****BUT!!! The good news is, for the next 3 days (July 1 – 3, 2013), that $50 becomes ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS if you use the debit card just 5 times in the first 45 days! **** HEAUX, HEAUX, HEAUX!!!

Trust me, it is totally legit and I have been more than pleased with them thus far.

So, to recap – this allows you to have a safe place away from bill money to stash your savings AND you will get $100 to kick off your fund! Also, if hubby handles your checking account, he won’t see what you bought for him! You can finally surprise him! ;)

Just click here to set up your account.  Once you receive your debit card, activate it and THAT will start the day count. Use that debit card at least 5 times within the first 45 days and on day 50, you will get a cool Hundred Smackers!

Saving for Santa – Part 4~ Take advantage of FREEBIES along the way and use them as a gift!

This post may contain sponsored or affiliate links.

I wasn’t going to post another part of this series so soon after Part 3, but I found out that a REALLY SUPER GREAT Deal is ending this weekend and I wanted to go into more detail about how you could use that.  So, we will call this an EMERGENCY MEETING OF THE SAVING FOR SANTA CLUB!

I have told you before about all the deals that I racked up last year for Christmas and how I got most of them FREE.  Well, when you do that, you have to be a little creative. For example, I had enough credits to purchase Fotobet pictures. These are plaques with your family name spelled out if photographs of architecture or nature that resembles the alphabet.  I love them, but they are VERY expensive.  They are personalized with the family name, so they are meaningful. They are expensive and unique, so I felt that they were a nice gift.  I just had to decide who would get them. So, when the opportunity came up, I got one for myself and one for my parents and one for my in-laws. Mark two gifts off the list – total cost – ZERO! Next!

So, you have to get into that mindset of “This is a nice gift…..who can I give it to?”  Instead of thinking, “What do I buy for the in-laws?” or “What should I give the teachers this year?”  There is plenty of time for that in mid-December! Now is the time to take advantage of the freebie offers and then decide who they can become a gift for.

So, the second level of this process is a review of Part 2-B. REFERRALS! Most of the sites that I bought from, I used a voucher from a Daily Deal site that I bought with credits from referrals.  For example: The same Fotobet pictures I mentioned above wer $60 each on their website. But, one of the DailyDeal sites (Eversave, I believe) ran a voucher for one picture worth $60 for half price. So, I spent $30 of referral credits on each one. Many deals like this include free shipping. So, I only spent referral credits. No money!  So, you should DEFINITELY refer your friends when you find a good deal, or even a good deal site that you like! Even if the deal isn’t a flat-out freebie, it can be for you if you have referral credits to spend instead of paying real money for the half price deal.  What’s better than cheap?? FREE!  So, when you see these deals, tell your friends! Some of the sites give you credit automatically when a friend purchases. Others don’t give you the credit until their purchase ships. So, keep that in mind.

Ok, so what cheapies or freebies do you need to know about??  Here are a few of my favorite current deals:

#1 – This one is not necessarily free, nor does it come with referral credits. But, it could EASILY translate into 2 or 3 NICE gifts!  Do you have a coffee lover on your list?  This is not a joke! You can get a Gevalia programmable coffeemaker and 4 bags of Gevalia coffee for only $9.99 shipped! You could put the coffee in a basket with a couple of cute mugs in each (that’s two gifts) and then give the Coffeemaker to someone else (That’s 3!). This coffee runs about $6.99 on sale, so this is a PHENOMENAL deal. I bet someone on your list would love a coffee basket! If you don’t have anyone on your list that needs a coffeemaker, you could save it for a wedding gift!  Either way you break this one up, it’s a MUST-DO-DEAL!  You do have to sign up for more deliveries of the coffee, but you can cancel that as soon as your order ships and not have to worry about it. JUST DON’T FORGET TO DO THAT!  Set  a reminder in your phone or computer.

#2 – One Kings Lane will give you $15 to spend on a $30 purchase. Shipping starts around $6-7.  But, if you refer a friend and they purchase, you get another $15. They say that credits can’t be used toward shipping, but if you have enough credits, sometimes it does cover it.  I have ordered MANY nice things from this site and have never paid a single penny to them for ANYTHING.

#3 – THIS IS THE ONE that ends Sunday.  I mentioned yesterday that I keep re-posting it because, like One Kings Lane, most credits are $10-$15, maybe $20.  This one is $40 credit to Paper Coterie!!!  I made myself a planner to try to get organized and I was able to put pictures of my boys in it. It cost $7 to ship it, but the planner was free.  So, think of that as a nice, personalized gift for SOMEONE (Grandma, teacher, etc.) for only $7…..instead of – “Why would I pay $7 to ship something?”  The planner is worth $34!! I got it for $7! I may go back and make another one under hubby’s email as a gift. There were other items you could create.  You just get a $40 credit to spend on your first purchase. There were some ABC books that you could put your own pics in and they were $20, so you could get 2 of them for FREE. Just pay the $7 shipping.

There will be more of these type of deals coming out all the time. So, I wanted to make sure that you see them with potential instead of thinking about the $7 shipping that you may have to pay.  Take advantage of welcome credits!!  They translate into FREE, just like referral credits do!

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If you are new to this site or this series and want to catch up, here are the previous postings:

Saving for Santa! Part 1 – Find a Safe Place for your Stash and get $50 FREE $$ to start it off!

Saving for Santa: Part 2 – FREE GIFT CARDS Will save you cash on your shopping!

Saving for Santa – Part 2-B – More ways to earn EVEN MORE free gift cards, by referrals.

Saving for Santa ~ Part 3 STOP!! DON’T PROCESS THAT ORDER YET!!!