90-Day Spending Fast Challenge: FREE Money $$$

KNOW that I have posted about earning money on Bing before; however, I can’t stress it enough about EASY this is and no one should miss out on FREE money!!

You can trade in your Bing Points for $5 Egift certificates at Amazon, Sephora, Starbucks, ProFlowers, Fandango, IHOP, Burger King and the list goes on. You can also donate your money to charities 🙂

Just open a Live/Hotmail account and use the link below to link your account to Bing RewardsYou can now do your searches online as Bing Rewards is going Mobile!! I earn $60/year in FREE money. Not bad for just using a search engine for looking up stuff on the internet. 

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Spending Fast FINISHED: Conclusions and Lessons Learned

So in retrospect of my Spending Fast, here are some conclusions that I have come to

Wants:
Reality:
Eating out/happy hours 1x/week – more of bummer as I was pretty frugal when I did go out = normally spending $10
Hard – I make this sound like I’m a socialite but I’m not. As long as I keep my “mad money” to $10/week (not per event)…..for any and all Happy Hours, lunches, coffee, etc. I think I’m good.
  • This was also harder to plan for if I didn’t pack enough lunch or I was running errands and they took longer than anticipated.
Gifts – will be recycling, re-gifting or making all gifts
Medium to Hard – This one wasn’t so bad as I have a lot of crafts and got creative however….don’t give junk to people. If the person can’t really use it, a $10 gift card along with a nice card is much better. I say something is better than nothing, even it’s offering to wash and detail someone’s car.
  • I hate washing my car so I would love this one.
Haircuts
Easy – besides my bangs which I’ve been watching YouTube videos on how to do this myself in the future, my hair is long enough to put up or down. I have also been looking at Pinterest for more updo’s so when I am do for cut, I can hide it.
Clothes
Medium – I actually found myself purging clothes than wanting more during this Fast. It made me take a look at what I have, what I actually wear and what I have worn in a LONG time.
New hobbies or crafts
HARD – this was hard for as me I constantly get coupons for Michaels and Jo-Anns however I have so much in boxes already…..I have to contain myself and see what can I repurpose.
Groupons or Living Social Deals
Easy – delete the app and just remind yourself of the goal
Specialty Coffees at Coffee Shops
Easy – I got treated to coffees by nice friends however I won’t abuse this and honestly will return the favor, with coffee in the future. I like good coffee yet having a to go cup from home is fine with me.
Contact Lenses
Easy – this was the easiest as I like my glasses = which is KEY!!!

Lessons:

  1. Put your needs before others, if you really want to achieve your goal.
    • This is a hard one for me; however, if you put other people first, then you always put second or last. And what does say about the value you put on your time, energy, money, etc.? It is of value also. And if something is of importance to you, share this with your loved ones so if you miss out of something, they know that you are working towards your goal and when you can, you will be there.
  2. This Spending Fast is NOT about “just getting by in life.”
      • Don’t be so cheap or frugal to the point that you feel like you are existing to achieve your goals.  Here are some suggestions to still have fun:
        • Organize a picnic in the park
        • Scout out new restaurants that may have a cheap happy hour
        • Offer to clean the yoga studio in return for taking a free class
        • Go for walk with someone instead of eating/drinking
        • Do a hobby or craft with a friend

    I’ll write a whole page on this later as I came up with a lot of small things to do.

    1. When there is something that really want or need and a possibility of it running out, BUY IT and YOU CAN ALWAYS RETURN IT LATER!!
      • I waited on purchasing material for a quilt for a baby shower as I’m doing this Spending Fast; however, the fabric is now discontinued and I can’t find anywhere, not even online. So lesson is: If there is something that heart is really set on and you know it’s perfect for what you want or want to achieve (in this case, I KNEW my friend would have loved it for her lil one) = Go For It!! Get rid of the guilt of spending and take advantage of the opportunity.
      • I once had a girlfriend tell me, “If it’s exactly what you want, then it’s worth it.” So far, I have not felt guilty purchasing something more costly when it was EXACTLY what I was searching for. (OK, in the beginning I did; however, I got over it and learned to enjoy my decision as some things are worth it.)
    2. Take advantage of coupons, reward points, timing, and COMBINING them together!!
      • For instance, I had an ULTA reward point that I had to use before the end of the month. I know that I was on my Spending Fast however missing out on the fabric, I was not going to make the same mistake twice. Also, my friend gave me a $5 off coupon and my mascara was on sale for “buy 1 get one 50% off” along with getting a cosmetic bag. When I got to the register, not only did I get my hair accessory (as I only had Category 1 of reward ULTA points) = got for $2 after using the reward points; got 2 of my mascaras and then used  the $5 off coupon; still received the cosmetic bag, yet I also received a free Moroccan Oil bottle for being a loyal customer for coming in the week since it was Memorial Weekend. All in all, I spent $12 when I should have spent more than $25.
    3. If you are going to buy something, be smart and get some cashback $$ for it if you don’t have reward points and timing is not of the essence.
      • I signed up for ebates.com where they pay you for shopping online at 1,600+ websites. First, you log onto the site, then find the online store that you want to shop at, a tracking code is issued to you for that shopping experience and when you check out, you get a certain percentage of cashback reward dollars. Also the site tell you which promotions and coupon codes are going on at the store prior to finishing your purchase.


    I got 3% cashback at Burt’s Bees = $0.91 along with a $10 Wal-Mart gift card for making my first $25 purchase within the first 90 days of signing up. And on top of this this, I used my Discover card which I get cashback dollars with them as well just for using my credit card to purchase the items.
    So I get cashback on the front and back ends of the purchase.


    • By the way, make sure that your address is filled out in your account information in order for Ebates.com to send you a check. A check is not sent until you have $5 accumulated in cashback dollars.
    • You can also have your Paypal account credited or donate to a charity, if that works better for you. 
    • And for the gift card, you can also choose between Targets, Wal-Mart and a couple of other major department stores. I just choose Wal-Mart as I can buy food and it’s in my local area.
    • NOTE: Discover card has their own shop online version however they don’t have as many vendors as ebates. Any cashback dollars I get from Discover, I use on Amazon as you don’t have to have a certain dollars to hit prior to being able to use it. It could be $0.01 and you can use it. Also search on Bing and receive points towards an Amazon gift card, too.

    Spending Fast: Day 21 – Get Creative

    So  honestly….I’m just wanting to revamp some of my clothes although I realistically, I don’t NEED new clothes and the next year of my life is going to be Nursing school. So with going through my closest, I decided to:
    1. Go through and get rid of clothes that I don’t wear anymore and are just there
    2. If the clothes are nice enough = give to a girlfriend
    3. If they are just OK or maybe too out of style = REVAMP!!!
    And here are some ideas from Pinterest:
    1. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/garter-stitch-swingy-sweater
    2. http://blog.easilydunn.com/2011/10/diy-make-an-awesome-cardigan-out-of-a-shirt-from-the-6th-grade-that-you-refuse-to-throw-away-but-never-wear/
    3. http://wobisobi.blogspot.com/2012/07/no-sew-halter-3-diy.html
    4. http://wobisobi.blogspot.com/2012/07/no-sew-one-shoulder-shirt-diy.html

      Spending Fast: Day 13 – How to Move Beyond Convenience

      I’m almost halfway through the month of this Spending Fast, and I’ve noticed my biggest struggle is really fighting against convenience. For instance, you need to run errands on the weekend and you will be gone all day. Grabbing a banana or power bar is easy however power bars are not always cheap and sometimes you more than just a bar.
      I was thinking about this more and more over the weekend and thought of a couple of things to stock in my pantry/fridge so I can grab ’n go:
      Pantry:
      ·         Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
      ·         Protein powder in a Blender Bottle (just add water and ice and shake — I like Vega chocolate and it also makes sure that I drink enough water in my day)
      ·          
      Fridge (no microwave required):
      ·         Pesto pasta (in particular tortellini pasta = more hearty) I eat cold and it just reminds me of a pesto salad than COLD pasta.
      ·         Lettuce/Cheese sandwich (make sure the lettuce is really dry or else it will get soggy) and sometimes I will  put tempeh bacon on this too.
      ·         Veggie wrap – be careful if putting hummus on this as the spread can make the tortilla wrap soggy. I would go for beans (whole like pinto) or just straight veggies.
      ·         Yogurts
      ·         Celery or carrot sticks
      ·         Chia seed drink – I get the snack/lunch size Tree Top apple juice (plastic bottles), take a sip from the bottle, put 2-3 teaspoons of chia seeds in the bottle, refill with water to the top again, put the top back on and shake. The Chia seeds have omega-3’s, protein, fiber and much more nutrients in them. Also when refrigerated overnight, the chia seeds expand from the liquid and the drink becomes quite filling!
      Freezer:
      ·         Frozen grapes (separate into snack bags to grab ’n go)
       This what I’ve thought of so far however hope to add to it. Please comment if you have other fav, grab ‘n go items even if it is a power bar as maybe it’s heartier than what I eat. Thanks!

      Spending Fast: Day 3

      So today is already starting a little bit hard =
      I wasn’t able to make lunch last night with the in-laws in town, and trying to be a good host; so I don’t have a lunch 😦

      Also tonight, we are invited over to the hubbie’s uncle’s house and I was told that there will not be any vegetarian/vegan options. I get pretty used to eating something different than others however didn’t want to appear rude if I have already eaten before arriving or bring something for me to eat. The hubbie is encouraging me to go buy my food = going against what I’m trying to achieve…….ugh. If I lived closer to town, I would just go home and make something however we live too far out to do so.

      Lesson I’m learning: Put your needs before others if you really want to achieve your goal.

      P.S. Definitely not used to doing that…..but it’s true. If you think about it, even on a spiritual or physical level (i.e. wanting a more calm life or to lose weight), in order to achieve your goal, you can’t give in…….you have to stand for what you know is good for you.

      SOLUTION  Going to Qdoba and using a buy one get one free coupon — so still “saving” with a free burrito that I will bring with me tomorrow while running errands in town all day.

      Over Goal: Aprox. $7

      Making Money on Bing

      Get rewarded while surfing the internet!

       
      I use Bing as a search engine to look up show-times, research travel sites or other misc. things and earn point while doing it. I signed up for Bing rewards through my Live account and starting surfing.

      You get automatic points for “signing-up,” referring friends, and every day there is a spotlight topic that you can click on to automatically earn 1 point. Mind you, you top out every day at 16 points (about 30 searches); however, with referring friends and do some other requests from Bing, you can earn 100 points at a time. At around 400 points, you can start to redeem your points for a promotional code for some of the following:

      • Red Envelope $15
      • ProFlowers $15
      • Starbucks $5
      • Amazon.com $5
      • Groupon $5
      • Xbox points
      • Redbox Rentals
      • Donations to different Charities

      I’ve redeemed my points mainly at Amazon.com and have use them on purchasing textbooks. At least for Amazon.com you can put in the promotional code and let the points sit on your account until you are ready to use them.
       
      Honestly, even if you don’t use Bing……try it out, get your points and have a fatter wallet around Christmas time by earning free stuff while surfing the net. Who knows, you may even like it.