Learning & Earning

A few of my friends are members of a site called Swag Bucks and they are always earning some sort of reward from it – so yesterday I finally broke down and signed up. Swagbucks.com is an online portal dedicated to helping you earn digital dollars called "Swag Bucks", which can be redeemed for exclusive Swagbucks.com merchandise (like gift certificates and such).

So, like I said – I joined – and I also installed their toolbar as well as their widget on my blog so that all you guys can join too! (hint hint)

Now, when I get my stupid freaking printer working I will then be able to not only print coupons from places like Red Plum (my favorite coupon site) but also print coupons from Swag Bucks! Awesome right? Right!!

So, are you a member of Swag Bucks? What do you like best about it and where do you find you earn the most “bucks” from?

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Learning to Save and Spend Wisely

Almost a year ago my husband and I cut up most of our credit cards. I say most because I couldn’t bear to cut up my Discover card nor our Navy Exchange Star card.

The Discover card I worked hard for when I was younger and I now use it to build up my credit and earn points. I use the “points” I earn with the card to help pay off my debt (no Starbucks cards for me!). The Navy Exchange (store) card is good to have for a “just in case” (like when our washing machine decided to ‘go’ and we needed a new one).

We’ve been reading the book “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey and I have to admit – it’s an easy read and I am learning SO MUCH from it. We’ve also borrowed the Financial Peace University DVD’s from my husband’s office so that we can hear Dave speak and learn even more. It’s great to be able to have this information – I know others (like my friend Drew) are benefitting from Dave’s teachings also. I have enjoyed reading Drew’s blog posts about what he’s learning too!

We’ve slowly but surely been paying off credit cards and paying down our consolidation loan (a little word of advice – don’t bother with a consolidation loan if you aren’t going to CUT UP YOUR CARDS!) We’ve got a nice bi-monthly budget (it’s flexible) and we’ve got our “Gazelle” budget (just a speedy and smart way of paying off credit cards). We’re working it out and it feels awesome.

My mom also sent me a link yesterday to a website called SmartyPig which is a unique savings program that was designed to help you save for a specific savings goal and then spend the money you save as smartly as possible when you’ve reached your goal. Goals are funded with a required monthly recurring contribution from your existing checking or savings account. You can also make additional one time adds of money to your goals and receive contributions from your friends and family members.

Once you have met your savings goal your automatic monthly contribution will stop. Your funds will continue to earn interest until you choose to stop your goal. When you stop your goal, you’re given the option of receiving your savings plus interest on the flexible SmartyPig MasterCard® Debit Card (Which can be used anywhere MasterCard® is accepted, including ATMs – for withdrawals only) OR to stretch your savings dollar even further, receiving your savings plus interest on the gift card from
some of the country’s top retailers. You may also choose to have your savings plus interest returned to your funding source via ACH.

I’m going to be creating an account there for a couple “big ticket” items that my husband and I would like. My personal “Wishlist” item is an iPhone! The phone itself won’t be too expensive because I will be qualified for an upgrade from AT&T in another month or so. It’s the $30 per month data plan that makes me flinch. My phone bill will be around $960 per year with that data plan and I’d like to save $300 (at least) before I go ahead and make that purchase. The other big ticket item is a flat panel 36+ inch television. We have a 36” television right now but it’s not a flat panel and we’d love to have one! We plan on saving and paying for the new tv with cash. We want the best deal of course!

So that’s my story! I’m trying to save – of course I slip up (a lot) and so does hubby. But we’re committed to getting out of debt so that we’ll be better able to tackle my student loans once I graduate from school (in less than a year! EEK!)

How are you doing financially? What are you doing to save money? Please share your story! Inspire me and inspire others :)

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Listia.com – Like eBay for Free Stuff!

If you are poor like me or are just trying to stick to a budget then you NEED to check out Listia.com! Listia is awesome because everything on the site being offered is offered for free. It seems similar to the book swapping website (that I am forgetting the name of right now) where you earn credits and ‘spend’ those earned credits on books. But Listia is an “auction” website for free stuff!

Everything on Listia is being given away by users for free. You can get items for free by using credits instead of cash. Each item is being auctioned off using those credits for bidding.

Listia also offers charity auctions and great ways to recycle things that you might otherwise throw away, such as old cell phones, vhs tapes, clothes, old TV. You may not be able to sell these items for cash, but you can recycle them by giving them away to someone who needs them!

A couple cool things I found on Listia while I was looking around included a gorgeous Papasan baby seat in great condition and lots of super cute clothes for kids. I also saw health & beauty products and a freaking awesome looking TwitterPeek mobile tweeting device (I’ve never even heard of that!!).

Listia is currently running a promotion where you can get 300 credits for free just by joining and listing an item.

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Un-Broke … I Really Need That!

There is a special on ABC tonight at 9pm called “UN-BROKE: What You Need to Know About Money.” Hosted by Good Morning America contributor and President of Ariel Investments Mellody Hobson, the special features Will Smith, Samuel L. Jackson, the Jonas Brothers, Christian Slater, Cedric the Entertainer, Seth Green, Sesame Workshop’s Oscar the Grouch, Rosario Dawson and the E*Trade Babies, among others.

After watching the commercials for the show, it seems like the show will not be rich celebrities trying to teach the “regular (read: poor) people” how to spend and not spend their money. It’s going to be a funny and information-filled show.

I’ve got my DVR set to record. I need this information! I’ve been blogging about our money “issues” on Atomic-Mama (my other blog). We seem to be getting the hang out spending less, but there is so much more to learn.

Will you be watching the show?

$2.00 off Snuggle Crème Coupon

Thought I would share this coupon that I’ve found with my readers! Check out an awesome new fabric softener - new Snuggle Crème. It leaves your clothes feeling smooth, soft, and fresh to wear. Snuggle Crème 
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Snag your $2.00 off coupon here!

Kicked that Term in the Balls!

This past term (in college) has been insane! I had one "easy" (and awesome, but very busy) class and one OMG WTF BBQ "Will I Even Pass" class. My "Will I Even Pass" class was Logic and Design (I’ve been tweeting about it for 5 weeks). Well, I got my grades back and managed to pull an "A" in the class – barely! My grade was a 90.?? % – awesome! Last class I had an 82%, but I guess the final project (with my friends Dorothy and Tabitha) kicked enough ass! Woo!!

I’m so excited, can you tell? I’ve never in my entire school ‘career’ had a 4.0 – ever. I’m just waiting for PTK (Phi Theta Kappa) to shoot me an email saying that I ROCK and they so want me for their club. My mama would be so proud :)

So, hopefully – the next two classes for this term (Networking I and Fundamentals of Customer Service) will be on the ‘easy’ side so I can finally get the two web projects (my portfolio and a revamp of my friends hair bow/accessories eshoppe) up and kicking some ass in their own right.

I figure if I finally get my portfolio up and running with actual photos/shots of what I can do I can actually find some freelance design work and make a little money. Money is SO tight right now and it would be nice to bring in some extra $$$.

Anyone moving to Jacksonville, Florida and need to rent a house?!

Sigh. At least my grades rock, right?

Thanks for all your support ~ as always!!