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Tomorrow is my big monthly shopping day. While I enjoy being out and about, and will have a nice lunch during my errands, I am not a shopper at heart, at least not in the traditional sense. Fortunately tomorrow's weather will again be in the high seventies and no clouds-a perfect day to be out and about, if that is what you have to do.
I actually enjoy buying things on occasion. But at this point in my life I enjoy small local shops (quilt shop, hardware, non chain garage) or thrift and yard sale shopping. For everything else I hop online. I have some clothing stores that I know my size with certainty. Shopping online allows me to avoid shopping, to have someone else put the heavy stuff inside my door and leaves me more time. 90 percent of the time I am getting free delivery, or delivery to the store. I also shop almost exclusively from stores that allow local returns. I realize that online shopping is not for everyone, but for me it's the proverbial bomb.
My errands are varied, and I may not get them all done. As of this moment I need to: hit my local pot pharmacy; fill up my tank; buy needed groceries (especially non perishables-I'm slowly moving to Amazon Pantry for some items); and hit Target for their gift card deals. I also need to go to the yarn store, get a car wash, and hit the dollar store to see if there are any decent glasses. When they were talking about clumsy is as clumsy does, it was me they meant. Besides I'd like to get some nice, spring stemmed glasses. I'm sure I've forgotten some stops.
There are a few things I expect to be leaving to another day-primarily my pedicure and hair cut and color. I have a lot to get done tomorrow, I expect to be gone all day, and that means that I am taking myself out to lunch. At Red Robin. With another earned gift card.
When I waxed eloquently last week about my own personal field trip and lunch, some wondered about the Applebee gift card. And, when I wrote about my two weeks of birthday freebies earlier on, even more people asked me about the specifics. Do you spend money to earn the cards? Does it take time? Do you give out personal information? The answers to those are no (with one exception), no, and no.
While I could write on and on about how to get freebies, good deals, coupons on meat and produce and other things, earning gift cards always is fun to write about because it's a tangible reward (as opposed to the math sometimes required to figure savings on labor intensive stuff, for example). It's also something anyone can do, depending on their time and on rare occasions their effort.
Most of the gift cards I earn, I earn from a place called Swagbucks that some of my readers are familiar with. Swagbucks is unique in that you can earn rewards in a variety of ways. Some are labor/time intensive like surveys, web searches and the like, should that be your choice. Many are passive and require just a couple minutes. This is the way I personally roll. If I can read, watch TV, or quilt and just refresh the phone every so often I'm in my personal zone. Other money earning ways include shopping through their portal, and taking advantage of many of their paid offers, if it is something you can really use. If any of you remember my trial of Hello Fresh, for example, I had a thirty percent off coupon, ordered two meals for two people for thirty dollars, and received 3 thousand points or 30 dollars back. In this case I made nothing, but my order was basically free and we enjoyed the meal.
This is not a tutorial about Swagbucks-that would take more time and space than I or this blog post have. I would suggest that it is pretty self explanatory after a look around and that there are lots of folks to ask. My personal, passive earnings streams are simple and not time consuming. I have a variety of apps on my phone that I simply set and they run, earning money. These apps allow me to earn almost a dollar a day in a few hours while doing nothing. I also buy gift cards. Now, I know I said I would not spend money to make money. These are cards that I use regularly, and I do NOT go off my budget. Each time I purchase these cards I earn Swagbucks (often many swagbucks). I generally buy one of four cards: AMC theater (lasts me awhile), Panera Bread (two of my book groups meet there), JCPenny (they have big and extra long shirts for men who are taller than six foot six), and restaurants nearby that serve lunch or brunch (Panera, Red Robin, Denny's). I never purchase gift cards that I don't need, but do purchase gift cards that I can use and get cash back at the same time. For those who shop in the Kroger family of stores, I use this same philosophy. I buy cards to the stores I use (from Walgreen's to Target), and get the fuel points for gas.
Swagbucks also allows you to buy a gift card and get rewards and then turn around and order through their website and again get rewards. For example, I have purchased a Macy's gift card and received rewards, turned around and ordered Lancome face cream, picked it up at the store and earned points on purchase as well!! And finally, as I said above, I use Swagbucks to shop through (as opposed to Ebates, Rebates or some other door through). So, all of my gift cards through Swagbucks are earned passively.
Swagbucks has a huge variety of cards, and most people I know get Amazon cards or Paypal so that they can treat it like cash. I have done that in the past. However, I Iive within 15 minutes of a huge Walmart (with gas and food and everything else), and have also starting getting cards for that use and at Sam's for gas. For other purposes, Swagbucks has everything from Regal Cinemas to rental cards in the rewards section, and in the gift card purchase section are more than I can name.
Any time I talk about these kind of rewards, I get a small, regular response having to do with either, "I'm too busy to do stuff like that", "Is it really worth the time" or in the case of some coupons and gift cards "there's never anything worthwhile, the coupons are junk food and the gift cards are unuseable". Folks, I am a seriously busy retiree (albeit some days the busyness may, as today, have to do with reading the next David Baldacci from the library). Please believe me when I say that I am NOT going to spend much precious retirement time doing online surveys and the like. Your mileage may vary, as the old phrase goes. If it's not something I can fit into my schedule, I'm not interested. Swagbucks allows me to earn money and all I have to do is keep my phone near by and refresh it, while I "do" my day.
Now, there are things that I would do actively to earn money. Most of those fall into the home or seasonal business category rather than daily earning gig. I have been known to sell finished quilts that did not have a recipient for example, and long time readers know that if you want a plate (or for or five or six) of holiday cookies, I'm your gal.
Swagbucks is not meant to be a business or a part time job as such, just some casual income. Or, as one reddit group calls it "beer money". How much you make is up to you, but it's not going to replace your part time job any time soon. On the other hand, combining Swagbucks with Ibotta, Shopkick and the like allow me to earn a minimum of five dollars daily and often more. All for simply letting my phone work its Swagbucks magic while I walk, knit, quilt, read, watch TV or play with the dogs (and occasionally get a good deal or coupon).
I'm sure some folks are thinking to themselves, "what's five dollars a day in the scheme of things" and for some this is probably true. On the other hand, five dollars a day on an average month is $150. $150 that you earned doing the things you normally do. $150 that can be put towards spending money on next year's holiday cruise (waiving hand), for stuff around the house, for basic savings, for almost anything. And whether it's a card to use yourself, one you use as a "just because" or surprise gift, or one you put away now for a free Christmas season then, it's all good.
Note: I realize that these money saving and making posts are not for all my readers. But I am the frugal retiree, and I have many frugal readers who contact me publicly and privately about how others manage and how they will manage. Coming up I'll be taking about other "casual income" and small business ideas. Look for more next Monday on whether the "Entertainment Book" is a good deal.