Sunday, August 21, 2016

B-I-N-G-O (Or "How to get a free Amazon gift card")

So a lot of my friends are like "Ohemgee I'm so tired from staying up late to watch the Olympics." And I'm over here like "Yeah I'm so tired because I stayed up late to rewatch every episode of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt." (<-- which is the best show on Netflix and if you aren't watching it, you're wrong)
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I seem to be the only person not infected with Olympic Fever. It's not that I'm unAmerican (USA! USA! USA!), I just don't care to watch a bunch of dudes swim real fast. What I DO want to do is get closer to my next Amazon gift card.
Swago is a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. You can redeem those SB for free gift cards (I've shared that last year I received $418 in Target, Amazon, and Sephora, Ebay, and PayPal gift cards). If you've never used Swagbucks, participating in Swago is a great introduction to the site because you can get extra bonuses for trying out all the activities as you complete your board.
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If you didn’t participate in the last round of Swago, here’s what you need to know to get your 300 SB Bonus:
  • Starting Friday, August 19th head to your Swago Board and hit “Join” to pre-register. If you don’t hit “Join” you won’t get credit for completing the action items.
  • Swago will begin on Monday, August 22nd at 12:01am PDT/3:01am EDT, so sit tight and get ready.
  • Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete. They can be anything from getting a search win, earning SB in Surveys, or earning SB in nCrave.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Monday, August 29th at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.
I've never been able to fill the entire SWAGO board but I do enjoy the few rows I fill in and the bonus points I get!

Click Here to join Swagbucks!

***************************************************** This is a post sponsored by Swagbucks. They are giving me bonus SB in exchange for making sure YOU know about using SWAGO to earn more points for yourself. Win/Win.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

$5 Back to School Gifts for Teachers

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School is starting soon!  Teachers are in their classrooms getting things ready for our kids. :)  I like to send a gift for my children's teachers on the first day. It's not necessary but I figure that since they are going to be with my kid 7 hours a day for the next 100+ days...I owe them a little something.    There are so many great ideas out there, I've rounded up 18 of the best $5 or less back-to-school teacher gifts for you.

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1. Home Room Mom  has this adorable printable that says "We're in good hands with you!"  You can attach to a bottle of soap (pictured is the Mrs. Meyer's brand), hand sanitizer, or lotion.

2. Here's one gift I gave to my son's teacher a couple years ago. I just doodled a little "Welcome back to the grind" on a blank index card and attached to a bag of coffee.  To make this $5 or less you could use a sampler pack of K-cups or the Starbucks Via instant packets, or any of the instant flavored coffees.

3. C is for Caffeine! I love the creativity on this one from One Krieger Chick.  Attach to a bottle of soda, a 6 pack of Coke, or a 2-liter.  

4. Mud Pie Studio brings us this cute way to gift erasers.  Those pencil top erasers are always some of my son's teachers' most asked for items.  And they aren't that expensive!  

5. "Have a reMARKable year!" from Tutus and Touchdowns.  Oh those dry erase markers are like giving a teacher GOLD!  This time of year you can get a 2 pack of the Expo brand markers for around $2.50.

6. This is a notebook paper inspired tote bag that I created as a gift 2 years ago for a teacher who I had done a field placement with when I was still working on my education degree.  It's easy to make and you may already have the colored Sharpies on hand.  What can I say? I'm a sucker for things that look like school supplies.

7. "I'm so happy I get to BEE in your class"  This free printable is from Happy Home Fairy and would thrill most any teacher!

8. Super cute way to gift a calculator.  Courtesy of Eighteen 25.

9. Mmmm. Doughnuts.  "I'm yours for the 'hole' year!"  I couldn't find an original source for this. :(  If you know who it is from, please let me know!

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10. Teachers always need new Post-it notes!  Resourceful Mama brings you this gift idea.

11. This is adorable!  Larissa Another Day made this "INKcredible" gift for the teacher.  Attach to a pack of pens, sharpies, Papermate Flair pens (*drool*), pencils...whatever you want!

12. Another soda themed gift.  "Soda-lighted you are my teacher". Isn't this cute?? The Diary of Dave's Wife made it!

13. "We're going to have a latte fun this year!" This is a nice way to present the teacher with a coffee shop gift card. From Pizzazzerie.

14. A bright gift bag filled with any assortment of bright colored goodies will cheer up even the most exhausted teacher.  From Surfin' through Second. Check it out here!

15. More writing utensils for the teacher. Are you seeing a theme here?  "Mark my words.."  Adorable way to gift a few Sharpies.  Find it at The Suburban Mom.

16. This is a gift I've not seen around much so your child's teacher has probably never received one.  It says "We are tickled pink to get you for a teacher!"  ThirtyHandMadeDays filled the pink crate with other pink office supply items like scissors, a ruler, etc. You can keep this at $5 or less by using a crate from the Dollar Tree along with a notebook, pens, scissors, and some gum or candy.

17.  Another often requested item from teachers is pencils.  So simple yet students are ALWAYS running out of them, losing them, etc.  A package of pencils can help your teacher (and the class!).  Snap Creativity found a way to pretty it up by making a pencil bouquet.

18. This one didn't photograph that well. I can say that because it's one of mine. :)  Despite the old ipod-quality photo it was a well-received gift that I sent the year my son was in 3rd grade. He's in middle school now. *sniff sniff*.
I used a die cut shoe to say that we wanted to get off "on the WRITE foot". Hahaha get it?  This is the kind of thing I find punny.  My poor husband.  Anyyyyyway.
I filled the little dollar section blue box with dry erase markers, cute pencils (thank you Target), a highlighter, and so on.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Funnies: Pokemon Go

I have yet to get the app but, as a non-Pokemon person, I have to admit it does look like fun.  This week's funnies are all about Pokemon Go.  Enjoy!

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday Funnies

This week's funnies are all kid-oriented.
Happy weekend!

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

4 Essential Tips to Help You Save for Christmas

I know, I know.  We're still in Summer Break mode here.  My kids are finding fantastic things to bicker about.  Last week there was a tense standoff over how long it was until Christmas.  One said 6 months, one said 5.  In case you are wondering, there are 164 days.  (If your kids start having the same argument mine had, you can direct them to this nifty Christmas countdown clock).



Anyway, it's July and people start getting weird about Christmas in July.  Proof: When I was a kid my church once sang Christmas Carols in December. We're just about 5 months away from the biggest, and most expensive, holiday in American culture. For 2015 the National Retail Federation expected the average American to spend upwards of $800 on gifts and decorations.  That's $1,600 for a family of two adults.  That's....a lot.

You know me. I love a good bargain.  My stupid Pinterest name is TheBargainBabe (Don't judge my name and I won't judge yours PokefluffGoMaster). I make my own laundry detergent. Black Friday is a national holiday to me.  And I've preached the virtues of Swagbucks. Christmas is just 5 months away and I know right now some of you are freaking out. Like "WHAT!? I don't have any money saved up yet! I can't save that much each month!"

Never fear, TheBargainBabe (is it weird to talk in 3rd person? It is. Yes. I will stop.) is here with 4 tips for a frugal Christmas.

1.  Start saving n-o-w if you haven't already. Set some money aside when you can.  Put it in a separate holiday account or in a sock drawer or something.  Maybe you'll decide to save every $1 bill you get, or all your quarters or 5% from each paycheck.  Whatever. Just start saving.

2. Use cash back sites when you shop online. Ebates is great for this.  For years my friends were all like "Yay ebates!" and I rolled my eyes and thought they'd fallen for some Amway scam.  Turns out Ebates is the real deal.  You go to the site and then click on the link to whatever store you want to shop at. Macy's, Sephora, JCPenny, Kohls, Walmart, Staples, Kohls...hundreds of stores.  That link takes you directly to the store's website AND you get a % CASH back.  Here's a screenshot of my next payout that's coming in August:

 Use cash back sites like Ebates throughout the year and save that refund in your Christmas account.  This check will put me at $28 for the year with an expected $30 more for the last half of the year---so $58 in my pocket.  There's a lot you can do with $58.  

3. Discuss gift limits with your significant other.  In 2011 my husband and I decided to scale back and do 4 gifts for each child and ourselves.  Here's my first post about it.  We love that it will fit any budget yet keeps things simple and the focus less on consumerism.


You may not decide to do this exact method and that's okay. The point is: you NEED to have a discussion and have preset limits and expectations.  Buying anything you think they will "like" is a recipe for overspending.

4. Join Swagbucks and start earning the points NOW so you can cash out for gift cards.  Last year I made over $400 from Swagbucks.  I use my points primarily for Amazon gift cards but have also had a fair amount of Sephora and Target too.  Amazon, Target, Sephora.  A girl's favorite stores. :)  You could easily make a couple hundred dollars between now and Christmas just buy watching videos, doing searches, and answering questions.  Swagbucks is completely free to join.

This is a GREAT way to afford things without putting a dent in your paycheck. I've heard of some families who fund their entire Christmas from Swagbucks!
If you're new to Swagbucks, see this pic of my screen for a few beginner's tips:


Swagbucks gave the handy infographic in this post and is also sponsoring it (thanks SB. You da' bomb diggity).  If you're a blogger you can apply to their Influencer program for additional earning opportunities.


It's never too early to start saving for Christmas. It is too early to start playing Christmas music. 
Wait a few more months for that. ;)






Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday Funnies: Dogs and Cats

Clearly I was in a funny animal mood this week on Pinterest.  Here are 3 of my favorites:


The longer I look at this picture the funnier it gets.
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Find more pins like this on my board dedicated to all things funny animals.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Funnies

Are you all ready for the weekend?  We're going to an amusement park and then taking our older son to church camp.  Busy, busy!  Here are my 3 most recent pins to my funnies board on Pinterest.  Hope you get a chuckle out of them!

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Wise dating advice

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Ugh. We've all been there.

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More like 2003 for me. :)
You don't have to wait until next Friday for more funnies...check out my Pinterest board where I'm constantly adding things that make me laugh:

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