Swagbucks 5th birthday blowout (and a HUGE bonus code for new members!!!)

Have you RSVP’d for Swagbucks’ 5th Birthday Blowout Feb. 25?

It’s easy to do, and when you RSVP you’re automatically entering yourself to win one of five $1000 CASH prizes.

The whole birthday celebration will be a big one – they’re giving out 135 Swag Bucks worth of codes, and they’re giving away four more $1000 cash prizes on the 25th when they celebrate.

You can find the RSVP link on the Swagbucks homepage – just look for the birthday image and click on it to be taken to the RSVP page.

If you’re not a member of Swagbucks yet, join me and use the code 5THBIRTHDAY during registration – you’ll start with 120 Swag Bucks! Just in the past week I’ve earned $25 in gift certificates just for using Swagbucks!!!! So click here to join – I promise, this is the web’s easiest way to earn gift cards, cash and prizes online!

Intro to Swagbucks: Yes, it really works.

Have you ever heard of Swagbucks? It’s a completely free, no-strings-attached site that rewards you for all of the things you’re already doing online.

Search, Watching Videos, Playing Games, Taking Surveys, Shopping and more – as you do these activities, you’ll earn Swag Bucks, which are reward points that you can redeem for all sorts of gift cards in the Rewards Store.

You can download their toolbar or download their OS and Android apps for more opportunities to earn. Choose the activities you like or have time for – how much you earn is up to you!

I’ve used Swagbucks for over a year and so far I’ve earned almost $500 in gift cards and cash just for doing things I normally do – mainly searching the web on my PC and my smartphone, clipping coupons and watching news clips and movie trailers. You can do the same!

To sign up for Swagbucks, click this link and join me. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the bucks add up!

How to pay off your student loan debt while buying stuff you normally buy. No, really!

Turn Your Everyday Spending into College Savings!

I can’t believe it’s been 17 years since I was filling out the FAFSA and applying for my student loan. I was certain that by now I would be making a bajillion dollars a year as a world-famous writer and that my education would have been paid off.

Um, yeah, of course I haven’t paid it off. Life happens. Hardships led to Forbearance and Deferment, and before I knew it, I found myself looking at my student loan balance ten years later and facing a balance that was greater than the amount I initially borrowed.

I’m being smarter about it today. I make payments every month. I make sure to pay off an amount greater than the interest tacked on to my loan every month. And this year, I started doing most of my online shopping withUpromise. And Upromise has helped me slowly chip away at that student loan and clear off a path toward debt independence.

It started out just as a site in which you could save for your kids’ or your friends’ kids college expenses. You’d sign up, you’d put in your reward cards, you might save a penny a year. Whoop-dee-doo. But a few years ago, Sallie Mae acquired Upromise – and the acquisition opened up a whole lot more opportunities and easier ways to save for college OR pay down your student loans through Upromise.

Here’s how it works now:

1) Open a new account at Upromise – The Smart Way to Save for College
2) While logged in to Upromise, you shop online from an overwhelming list of online retailers, including Best Buy, Old Navy, OfficeMax, Walmart, drugstore.com, Expedia, Sally Beauty Supply… way too many to name. Next to the retailer you will see exactly what percentage of your dollars spent will go back into your Upromise account. Stores can range from 1 to 25%, but are typically around 2-4 percent.

3) About 30 to 45 days later, you get money put back into your Upromise account.
4) Use the money any way you want – receive a check, open up a 529 savings account for the kids, or have Upromise make payments directly to Sallie Mae to pay down your student loan with Upromise.

Now, here’s the mindset you need to get into to rack up the money and pay off your loan sooner:

1) Take fewer trips to the store. So you have your list for the drug store ready. Let’s say you need deodorant, cotton balls, vitamins, shampoo, toilet paper and a bottle of Zyrtec. These are all non-perishable items you can buy online from drugstore, Walgreens or Walmart. By planning a couple of days ahead, you can buy that stuff online through Upromise. So stay in your jammies and shop online. Not only have you avoided the stress of having to wade through 12 different aisles to find what you need, you’re also gonna get some money back from it.

2) Buy online; pick up in the store. Best Buy started it and most merchants have followed: Buy items through Upromise for in-store pickup. Again, you are making an easier shopping trip for yourself and you are buying stuff through Upromise.

3) If you need it and can buy it through Upromise – The Smart Way to Save for College, do it. In addition to pharmacy items, you can also buy clothing, non-perishable food, electronics, pet supplies, contact lenses, baby formula, laundry detergent, baby and bridal shower gifts, basically anything that doesn’t spoil or melt can be purchased online. There will probably be a time when cold-shipping is more common and you can buy your cheese and deli meat online too, but we aren’t quite there yet.

4) Take advantage of free shipping offers. Many sites have a minimum purchase requirement to qualify for free shipping. It really doesn’t take that much to come up with $25 or $50 worth of stuff to chop off those shipping costs. Walmart.com is currently offering free shipping for all its pharmacy products and has a line of “Home Free” shipping products that come to you for free if you spend $45, so I’ve been going there to buy low-carb bars and snacks. I also use Drugstore.com to buy groceries, supplements, allergy medications. You just need a minimum purchase of $25 for free shipping, and it’s not hard to rack that up!

Upromise also has a “daily double” that is announced every day at midnight EST, in which you can get double savings from your purchase. It also prominently displays the merchants that will give you the most bang for your buck.

I’ve been using Upromise since the beginning of last year to shop for everyday items, and I’ve earned about $200 to pay down my student loan. Upromise makes payments to Sallie Mae loans on a quarterly basis if you get more than $25 in savings.

So is Upromise the way to get your loan paid every month? Not really, but it does help chip away at that loan a lot sooner. There are other ways to add to your savings. I do not recommend you get the Upromise Credit Card that promises you’ll save even more for college, since I think it defeats the whole purpose of paying down debt in the first place. But you can refer your family and friends to shop through Upromise and help you out. I haven’t had any luck with that; your mileage may vary.

If you get a statement from Sallie Mae every month and you are not signed up with Upromise, you need to get on that train and ride it now. Because I don’t know where you come from, but here, 100 bucks is nothing to shake a stick at.

You’re going to buy this stuff anyway; why not earn something from it?

Join Upromise!

Watching the Olympics? Join Viggle and win LOTS of free stuff!

A few weeks ago I told you guys about Viggle, an app I was totally excited about at the time. I urged you to join. And already I’m racking up points like CRAZY, and our household has already earned a BUNCH in gift cards. We’re saving up our points for the big ones, though!

But during the Olympics they have a BIG BIG HUUUUUGE special: refer your friends at 1,000 points per referral, and win up to 5,000 points a DAY just by watching the Olympics! Click here for all the details straight from Viggle!

To access all this awesomeness, all you have to do is join, open up the Viggle app, check into the Olympics and you’re good to go! The fun begins at the opening ceremonies tonight, where there will be a big Viggle Live game!

You can also check into the Olympics on your PC or on Hulu and still earn points!!!! So you don’t even have to have a TV or cable to get in on the excitement!

It takes 50,000 points to get a $25 Amazon gift card, which you can get very quickly if you sign up today! I’m telling you, Viggle has been the MOST rewarding of all the reward apps I’ve used in the past month. I really want you to join. In addition to getting gift cards to Amazon, you can also get ‘em for Best Buy, iTunes, Papa John’s, Old Navy, Gap, and even free subscriptions to Hulu Plus and Spotify! And that’s just a handful of what you can earn; save up enough and you can cash in your points for a cruise!

For a more comprehensive review of Viggle, check out my post on Viggle here. All you need is an android or iOS device and TV access either through a standard television or through Hulu or a similar service. When you join, you start out with 1500 points. Those points quickly rack up and you will be AMAZED at how fast you can earn gift cards and prizes.

I really, really want you to join Viggle. Tons of rewards up for grabs – you’ve got a smartphone – let it pay for itself!

Watch TV, Get Rewards: Hit reward-app Viggle makes Android launch!

Imagine earning gift cards and discounts for watching your favorite TV shows – True Blood, Pawn Stars, The Bachelorette? Let me introduce you to Viggle.

I’m constantly searching for smartphone apps that actually reward you, and after two days of playing around with Viggle, I’m pretty danged happy.

Viggle rewards you for watching TV like no other app. Other apps give stickers or they make you answer insane questions about commercials that aired on shows you watched two days ago. This one’s easy. You just hold your phone up to the TV to detect what you’re watching, check in, and when the program’s over, you’ve got points in your account!

Perusing through the rewards catalog

Since I downloaded it yesterday, I’ve already earned enough points to win two free movie rentals or one game rental from Redbox, and discounts at Totsy, Rent The Runway and the Origin/EA store.

If things continue to go this well, I could soon be earning gift cards to Barnes and Noble, JC Penney, Papa John’s, GAP, Sephora, Old Navy and even a free month of access to Spotify Premium or Hulu Plus.

It’s been available on the iPhone for several months now, but last week Viggle debuted on Android devices.

I downloaded it to my Samsung Galaxy II Skyrocket (AT&T), and it’s worked really well on Wi-Fi and is so-so using the 4G LTE connection. Last night it was a little buggy, and at points I had to restart the application (and even my device), but I was able to get all my checkins.

As long as you’re watching  TV and your TV service matches the one you have indicated on your account, you can get rewarded for any show you watch.

But it’s important to note that in the app is a “What’s On” tab, which you can click to see shows that will be airing in your area that will get you the most points. The most points are typically available in primetime.

Using the highest-point shows listed by scrolling through the “What’s On” tab, you can set up reminders so you can schedule and be buzzed when you need to tune into the show that is going to give you the bonus points.

You also don’t have to be right next to your television to earn the points. I’ve been rewarded for watching movies on TMC, checking into PBS shows, and watching the news just by going up to the TV, checking in and then going on with my regular life.

For instance, tonight I’m going to check in to The Bachelorette at 7 (100 points), probably come back to my room to do some work until 8, and then check into Pawn Stars (200 points) and American Pickers (250 points)! So I can earn up to 550 points tonight, and that’s JUST from checking into the shows.

After initially writing this review, I discovered some great tips from Viggleboy, and now I’m earning about 2000 points a day! In a short time I’ll be able to get a $25 gift card to Amazon. He puts out a daily schedule of when you should check into shows, and also has a page full of additional tips. I urge you to bookmark his site to maximize your earnings each day!

If you have a real life, you can also watch and earn through On-Demand shows as well as shows recorded over your DVR. You won’t be able to earn the same number of points as you would had you watched it live, you will be rewarded at one point per minute.

You can also earn points by watching commercials, PSAs, and other videos that will pop up as opportunities to earn points. For instance, about every 15-30 minutes I earn five points for playing a Gatorade commercial on my phone. I’ve seen it so many times I just keep it muted now, but those are some easy points nonetheless.

I’ve also occasionally run across commercials that reward 50 to 75 points, and occasionally I’ll have the opportunity to watch a clip that will award me with 150 points.

I started out with 1500 points because I’m a Klout influencer. (Normally you start out with 200 or 300, I believe. But so far — and keep in mind, I haven’t even checked into any primetime shows yet – I’ve got 6,093 points. Take away 1500 of that and you STILL have enough for a free video game rental from Redbox, so as you can see, these points are adding up pretty quickly.

And, of course – you get points for referring friends! You can share your link on your social networks, and for each new friend who signs up, you get 200 points! So join through my referral link and we’re both on our way to winning!

I hope this keeps up. In May I wrote about Jingit, an app that has sorely disappointed me. But even if I just end up with a $10 gift card somewhere, that’s $10 I never had  before, right? Right.

So join, see how you like it, get back to me about it! I love feedback on the apps I enourage (and discourage) you to use.

I received bonus points for signing up with Viggle because I’m a Klout influencer. I was under no obligation to write about this app. All opinions are my own, and writing about this will not affect my Klout score. This post contains referral links.


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