Yesterday I realized that after about 4 months of saving, I have $200 in our Christmas budget that all came from various point reward programs I use! You know, those programs that let you turn in your points for gift cards or cash? And that number just keeps growing!
Who doesn’t love free money, I ask you?!
After realizing this, and sharing it on my personal Facebook page, I had a request that I share my secrets. So. This is my attempt to share with you dear lovelies (and handsomlies), how I rack up points and turn them in for gift cards or cash and make our Christmas FREE.
First of all, I should mention that I have learned to only turn my points in twice a year. This is key because if you cash out your points every time you earn them, you’ll just spend them randomly and won’t rack them up for big events, like Christmas.
I have gotten to where I only cash out my points for two things: our big family vacation in June and Christmas. Mainly because these two events take a lot of money out of our pocket, and because they are about 6 months apart and I have adequate time to rack up some points!
So first tip: Let your points rack up. Cash them out only once or twice a year for a big event. Capeesh?
I use several different point reward programs. So let’s get to what ones I use and how I use them, or in other words, the meat and potatoes of this post. Come on, baby! Mama wants a free Christmas!
1. ThankYou® points:
My biggest point generator by far is my credit card that has ThankYou® points on it. Now, I’m not advocating you should all go out and sign up for a new credit card. In fact, DON’T! But if you are the type that is very disciplined with your credit cards and pays them off each month, then why aren’t you using a card that gives you points back?
We use my credit card a lot for church events that will be reimbursed within the month. This helps me rack up a lot of points on it, as we don’t put very much personal stuff on it, and I make sure it can be paid off each month before we charge on it!
So if you use a credit card, make sure it has some type of points reward perk to it, like ThankYou® points! Otherwise, what’s the point?
Basically Swagbucks is an online search engine that awards you random bucks throughout the day. Why use Google or Yahoo if you can do the same thing with Swagbucks and earn bucks that you can turn in for gift cards?!
Now, the bucks do take some time to rack up, but in the lifetime of me using Swagbucks I’ve earned almost $300 in Amazon gift cards. And for a long period of time in there, I wasn’t using Swagbucks regularly, so it would have been much more!
Plus, I don’t always do the extra stuff you can do to earn Swagbucks, like… polls, surveys, shop and earn, watch videos, swag codes, etc. I’m sure other people have earned a ton more than me in that period of time, but they probably utilize all the earning features, and I just don’t!
In my opinion, the best gift card Swagbucks has going is the Amazon gift card. I usually only cash out my Swagbucks points once a year for Christmas because of this. Although occasionally I will cash them out for my kids’ birthdays if we need something online.
You can sign up for Swagbucks by using my referral code if you’d like a bonus 30 Swagbucks!
3. Social Moms:
Social Moms is a website that’s been around for quite a while and offers articles, advice, and forums you can participate in.
They recently (I want to say just this last year?) started offering points for your participation on their website or by sharing their content through your social media channels, including twitter, facebook, pinterest and more. In fact, I just earned enough points to turn in for $40 Paypal cash! Woot!
I feel that their points cash-out threshold is at a very achievable level and is not to difficult to hit within several months of active use. In fact, I would say their points are one of the fastest to accrue, if you use it regularly!
Be sure and check out Social Moms and tell them imalazymom sent ya if asked!
4. Check Points:
Check Points is an app that you download to your smart phone and as you check-in at different places around town it awards you points! (Think Foursquare, but it actually rewards you with points you can redeem for gift cards! Woohoo!)
Check Points also awards you points and coins when you scan items at the store you are in. For instance, you walk into Walmart and scan a name brand of ketchup they ask you to find. You get points and coins for that!
The coins can then be used to play one of two games they have on the app. If you win the game it gives you points. So basically, you can turn those coins into more points!
It takes a little bit of getting used to and the points can be slow to rack up (especially if you forget to check-in where ever you go!), but I have already earned $10 in gift cards, and that’s still $10 less I have to spend on Christmas!
You can use my bonus code: saplm when you sign up. Not sure what it gives you, but it’s worth a shot to use it I guess!
ShopKick is the same idea as Check Points, but it gives you higher points, but at fewer locations. So far the only retailers ShopKick works with is Target, Macy’s, American Eagle, Old Navy, Best Buy, and Aerie.
Stores that participate in the ShopKick loyalty program have sensors at their front doors that recognize that you are in their store and award you points for visiting. They also give you points for scanning certain items in the store, much like Check Points.
I don’t use this app nearly as often as I do Check Points, because I just don’t shop regularly at the stores it’s currently in, but the list of stores is growing (I think they recently added Toys R Us).
Stores do offer you bonus points every once in a while if you stop by their store the day they are offering the bonus points and you can even earn points off of your purchases if you link your credit card to your ShopKick account (something I’ve yet to do).
You can sign up for ShopKick using my referral link if you’d like!
6. Speedy Rewards:
We’ve signed up for various gas station loyalty rewards programs before, but none seem to be worth our time as much as Speedway’s Speedy Rewards.
Every time you make a purchase in their store or at the pump you earn points. They offer special deals every week where you can earn more points if you purchase a combination of items in their store (like two 20oz sodas or a certain soda and candy bar).
They also have rewards where you can earn your 6th fountain drink or hot drink free, as well as other promotional items you can earn free.
But, you can use the points you earn for things like free gas, or even free gift cards for big chain restaurants and retail stores (again, helping you knock off some cash out of pocket for Christmas!).
We usually just let our points rack up for a Speedway gift card that we use for gas money on our family vacation. It works out great!
These six rewards programs are what help us have a free or drastically reduced Christmas. Are you using any of them? And if not, why aren’t you?!
Disclosure: This post was not sponsored or compensated in any way by the companies or rewards programs mentioned in this post. I wrote this here stuff on my own accord and have no association with them whatsoever, other than being a user of their rewards programs. So help me God.
Don’t miss the laziness! Subscribe to I’m a Lazy Mom via reader or email today!
Or follow along with the fun on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!