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Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Freebie: Panda Express

Good today only for some Firecracker Chicken.  Let me know if there are actual firecrackers in it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The end of the month is nigh...

And I'm quite happy about that, given how dry this month has been.  Make sure you have done all your monthly "tasks" before heading into February.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Ibotta, Checkout51 and others: Leveraging in-store shopping coupon/rebate apps

I've always had a hard time getting excited about Ibotta, since they didn't have offers at many stores near me and the app was a pain to use.  They have, however, recently added new stores and made the rebate process easier to navigate, so I have paid more attention to it.

Recently, however, I discovered, which is even easier than Ibotta to use.  While it doesn't have as many offers as Ibotta, all you have to do to get credit is take a picture of the receipt, and you can use it at any store.

Where it gets interesting is when it overlaps.  For example, this weekend, one app had a rebate of $.75 for Belvita breakfast biscuits, while the other had one for had a rebate for $1.00.  Same thing for certain Nabisco cookies.  Combine a manufacturer's coupon and you run into the situation where you are actually getting the product for free or better!  Don't like the product?  There's probably a shelter that would be grateful.  Note also that the Ibotta/Checkout offers are normally timed to coincide with what you'll find on sale in your circulars.

To Maximize:
  • Look for products that are on both apps.  This should take about two seconds.
  • Do a quick search for manufacturer coupons for the product.  Another two seconds.
  • Check products for prices.  I usually hit to check prices, but your local circular will also have deals.  
  • I have not yet discovered if two people with the app can use the same receipt, since my wife does not have a smart phone.  But if you can, that doubles your earnings.
This is the type of thing that I love to do.  You're not going to get rich from it, but I always enjoy the game.

Likewise, if anybody can find other apps similar to these two, please let me know and I'll post your referral link.

Full disclosure: Please note that I do get a $1 referral bonus if you use my link for Ibotta.  Checkout51, which is the better of the two, does not offer a referral bonus and should be the one that you use if you only do one.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Website monetization (sort of and not really)

I've thought a while about writing a post like this one and finally decided, what the heck, if you don't ask, you get nothing.  I'll try not to be to annoying about it.

I was once asked if I planned on doing anything to monetize this site.  Truthfully, the answer is "not really."  I occasionally have links that provide me some sort of referral bonus and I think I get something when people click on the ads along the sides, but anyone running a blog knows that, unless you have a huge audience, are a good salesperson and lots of high-paying links, you're doing it for fun.  I've been running this site for just over two years and have earned a few hundred dollars over that time.  Literally, almost enough to buy the kids new shoes (Little kids' feet grow fast!).  But I have a lot of fun searching out the free points here and there and feeling like I'm getting something for nothing.

I'm not really good with things like credit card links and haven't explored that avenue, but I really have nothing but admiration (and jealousy) for those bloggers who are able to make their living off their blogs.  They're hard workers and, while they sometimes get overexcited about the products, they almost always do an excellent job explaining the benefits of the cards and I've frequently used their links when they've provided particularly valuable advice.

Having said that, I'm going to give myself one day per year to "show my wares," so to speak.  So today is it until 2015 for a post dedicated to monetization.  And you can feel free to stop reading here, if you like.

All of these links below are my favorites for the category, not necessarily the ones that pay me the most.  And they're all ones that I use, so I can at least say that they are honest.  They're also ones that definitely offer benefits.  Thanks for reading this far.  Hopefully, you'll find something interesting.

1) InboxDollars is my representative from the "just click on a link" category.  Seriously, they send you an email and you click on it.  They give you small change.  I have an "alternate email" where my IBD emails go so that I don't get my real email cluttered.  They also have offers on the main site that give you a little bit more for submitting your email, doing a survey, signing up for a mailing list, etc.  Finally, you can get paid for searching by using their downloadable search bar.  IBD pays me a small percentage of your earnings for referring you.  Also good is MyPoints, which pays me $1.00.  The link is here:

Get a $10 gift card when you shop online with MyPoints!

2) There are a ton of survey sites out there, and a lot that pay several dollars for referrals.  But there are only two that I use personally and my favorite is Global Test Market.  Their surveys pay the user more than other sites do and their customer service is good.  That's good enough for me.  If you sign up, I think I get $2.25.  You can join by clicking here.

3) The best "paid to search" site is still Swagbucks, which is also the best-known.  This one is a gimme.  Seriously.  They use the google search engine, so the results are the same.  The only difference is that they randomly give you "Swagbucks," which can be traded in for cash or prizes.  For cash, 100 SB=$1.  Google gives you nothing, except the occasional Google Doodle (which is also kinda cool).  Added bonus: If you use my referral, I get either a flat $2.25 or 10% of whatever year earn (from them, not you) for as long as you use the site.  I'll let you choose:

3a) Click this link and I get 10% of your earnings, forever!  (Insert evil cackle.  Man, I love that word, "cackle.")

3b) Click here and I get a flat $2.25.

4) And finally, there are online shopping rebate sites.  Another gimme.  Instead of going directly to the desired store's website (e.g.,, You go to the rebate site, click on the store you want and then they redirect you to the store's website.  The extra step means that the rebate site gets a commission, which they then share with you.  There are about a million of these sites out there, but my two favorites, which have a combination of strong commissions and reliability, are Mr. Rebates and Big Crumbs.  Each pays me a very small percentage of whatever you get.  Topcashback also pays me a generous $10 when you earn $10, but I do not trust their reliability and generally use one of the other two sites for shopping, even if they pay less.  Note: For best results, always clear your cookies before using the sites.

Thank you for getting this far.  I appreciate everyone's visiting my site and all of your feedback.  And will the first person who uses this code post?  It's a little better than usual, just because you had to get this far.  You have to highlight the area below to see it.


My Coke Rewards: Possible free Coke Zero based on the groundhog

I haven't quite figured out what this MCR beta thing is yet.  Sounds like Coke trying to be cool.  But they're offering freebies, and that's cool in my book.  Of course, they're limiting it at 7,500 winners.  Can't have Florida Gulf Coast ruining everything again.

Go here and follow the Groundhog link to guess whether the groundhog will or won't see his (her?) shadow.  I think you have to tweet something, although it accepted my submission without a tweet.  They'll disqualify you if you enter more than once, so use a second account to gather points.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Kellogg's Family Rewards: Free $20 Shutterfly code

This is a one-use code, so please notate in comments.  If you are signed up to get the KFR newsletter, you probably got one.



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pampers Gifts to Grow points: 10 points (good through today)

Oops, missed one.  New Pampers Points code for 10 points: FBMLKD99E202014

Kellogg's Family Rewards: 50 points

Given how many points it takes to get a decent reward, I'm not sure if this site would be worth it, except that I have the magical combination of lots of free points codes as well as kids who would eat cereal for every meal if we let them (We don't.).  Thus, I persevere.

Today's code is SPECIALK5BONUS4U.  Enjoy!

Old Orchard: 1,000 points for a quick survey

It's been a while for this one, but their point opportunities are usually short and sweet.  Today, take a survey for 1,000 points.  It's a one-pager, so very high return on your time.

Thanks to H4F for this one.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Checkout 51: Like Ibotta, only way, way better; cash back for purchasing select items

Every so often I get an app that offers cash for scanning/buying items that gets me a little turned on.  Previously, it was Ibotta, even though Ibotta is a bit clunky (only certain stores, you have to select offers before choosing them, etc.).  Checkout 51 solves a lot of those problems.

Checkout gives you a list of items that are offering cash back.  If you buy one, you scan your receipt afterward and they'll credit you.  That's it.  No adding offers, no picking particular stores.  You can buy any of the products at any store.

Some are easy.  For instance, buying a dozen eggs (any brand, any store) gets you $.50.  Uploading your first receipt of at least $20 gets you $2.  Others may not be as common but offer more money back.  You get the idea.

Added bonus: There's nothing that prevents you from using coupons.  You don't do anything until after the purchase.

Offers are uploaded on Thursdays and expire on Wednesday, so you'll get new ones each week.  Take a photo of your receipt by Wednesday expiration for the cash.

Bottom line: It's free and easy.

And thanks to for turning me on to this deal.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Is the My Coke Rewards Wednesday deal dead?

Much like the airline passenger who complains, "the food is terrible and there isn't enough of it," I'm somewhat saddened that it appears that the MCR Wednesday deal program is dead.  True, the deals were rarely any good, but every once in a while, a useful one popped up.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Recyclebank: 225 points

Finally, something to do.  Hit Recyclebank for 225 points, with a 25 point quiz here and 100 points for clicking through some 2013 Faves.  Then, look forward to 2014 here for another 100 points.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Another drought

I'm getting annoyed by the lack of points out there.  Here, have a freebie.  You know the drill, please comment if you use it.


Thursday, January 9, 2014


Ya know what's weird?  I've gotten "(I've had) The Time of my Life" on Pandora two days in a row.  How annoying.

Please comment if you use this.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Kellogg's Family Rewards: 100 points

Ya know what's better than a free KFR code?  Two free KFR codes!  Enter your codes here for 100 points.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Starbucks 2013: The final tally

Last year at this time, I announced that my goal was to go the whole year without paying a penny out of pocket to support my Starbucks habit.  So how did I do?

Technically, I paid $5.  During the year, Groupon ran a $10 in Starbucks for $5 promo, so I wasn't going to give that one up.  But I ended the year with more than $5 on the card, so I'm not going to beat myself up too much.

Mobee made up a large percentage of my Starbucks habit.  Hey, nothing with earning a few bucks while reviewing restaurants that I eat at anyway.

Shopkick and Checkpoints also added some, with the former adding more than the latter.  As Shopkick added scans as a way to earn points, it distanced its lead over checkpoints.

Recyclebank: 25 points

Here's a quick 25 points for taking a quiz at Recyclebank.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Disney Movie Rewards: Monthly points

Check your email for your monthly newsletter from Disney.  Nine points for me this month!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Kellogg's Family Rewards: 20 points

Hey, not bad, another 20 points from Kellogg's.  Sometime in 2050, I'll have that Starbucks gift card.

KFRSHARETHANKS20 is your code.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Disney Movie Rewards: 50 points

Happy New Year!  Disney thinks so, too, and they've backed it up by sending you a link for 50 points in your email.  Don't forget to check your spam box!