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Category: Earning & Managing Money

Free eCourse: How to Make Money from Home with an Amazon FBA Business

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Looking for some unique ways to make money from home? You might want to try an Amazon FBA Business!

If you’re interested in making an income from home and you’re looking for ideas, be sure to .

This e-mail series is taught by the Selling family — a husband and wife team who have been making a full-time income from home through Amazon since 2011.

In this series, you will learn:

  • What an Amazon FBA business is and how it works
  • What types of items you can sell on Amazon and how prices differ
  • How to set up an Amazon seller account
  • Plus more!

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Looking for more in-depth advice on how to make money from home?

Be sure to check out my book , where I share creative ways to manage money, generate income and–most importantly–live a life of deeper meaning, fulfillment, and generosity than you might have ever imagined possible. This book is packed with hard-won wisdom, real-life stories, and practical tips to help inspire and motivate you!

I also highly, highly recommend . This step-by-step guide is packed with valuable information and tips!

7 Easy Ways to Earn Amazon Gift Cards

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Looking for easy ways to earn Amazon gift cards for FREE? Check out this list of fun ideas!

How to Earn Free Amazon Gift Cards

7 Ways to Earn Amazon Gift Cards for FREE

When you’re on a really tight budget, sometimes even $5-$10 per month can help stretch your budget so much further. And that’s why Amazon can be a budgeter’s best friend.

There are SO many different ways to earn free Amazon gift cards and Amazon carries just about anything you can think of!

So that means you can use Amazon gift cards to stretch your grocery or household supplies budget, to afford diapers, to buy gifts for others on a really tight budget, or even to just buy something nice for yourself that you’ve really been wanting and can’t make room for in the budget!

These are my favorite ways to earn Amazon gift cards. And while you may not earn hundreds of dollars from each, you’ll find that you can easily earn at least $5-$10 per month from each of these — and that really adds up if you try to regularly use at least 2-3 of these methods!

1. Swagbucks

Swagbucks is my all-time favorite way to earn Amazon gift cads and I’ve been using it for years now.

It is a site that rewards you for completing tasks and doing certain actions online. When you complete a task, you’ll earn points called swagbucks that you can cash in for free gift cards.

Some of the more popular ways to earn are doing online searches, signing up for offers, printing coupons, completing special offers, and taking polls.

Go here to read our complete guide on how to earn swagbucks.

Earn Amazon Gift Cards with Shopkick

2. Shopkick

Shopkick is a mobile app that allows you to earn gift cards for walking into stores and scanning products.

The best part of Shopkick is that you don’t have to buy anything to earn the gift cards, and it can be done when you’re already out and about!

Shopkick is one of the easiest and quickest ways to earn Amazon gift cards — especially if you’re frequently out running errands or shopping.

You can go here to read an in-depth review about how it works.

Also, you can currently get a FREE $5 gift card just for signing up!

3. Ibotta

Ibotta is one of my favorite money-making apps, and it’s a great way to save money on groceries and more — without clipping coupons!

Simply look in the Ibotta app to find rebates for grocery items you’re buying and scan your receipts to get credit.

Earnings add up pretty fast and you can cash out at $20. It’s a super easy way to earn Amazon gift cards for your grocery purchases.

Go here to read more about how to get started with Ibotta.

4. Coinstar

Do you have any loose change lying around? Gather it up and take it to your nearest !

You can . It’s super simple.

I did this last year right before Christmas and had $208 in coins! I traded them in for an Amazon gift card and used it to buy Christmas gifts!

5. InstaGC

is a site that is similar in nature to Swagbucks. I’ve tried it out a little bit in the past and liked it, and several readers have commented with rave reviews about it!

You can earn points for simple activities like taking surveys, watching videos, searching the web, and shopping online.

They have tons of gift cards you can trade in points for — including Amazon gift cards!

6. PrizeRebel

is another site that seems very similar to Swagbucks. I’m actually testing this one out right now and plan to do a full review in the near future!

It’s mostly surveys and video based from what I can tell, but they also have opportunities to sign up for free offers and do special tasks to earn points.

I’d suggest focusing on watching videos and taking their longer surveys. I seem to be getting multiple opportunities per day to take surveys worth 77 points!

7. Survey Companies

While you won’t get rich or earn a full-time income from taking paid online surveys, it is a really nice way to earn gift cards on the side!

This was one of my favorite ways to stretch our financially lean budget when Jesse was in law school.

Go here to see my list of the top legitimate paid online surveys you can trust.

Amazon Gift Card

Related Links:

Can you think of any other creative ways to earn Amazon gift cards? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Does SmileDirectClub work? (My 90-Day Update)

Does really work? In this post, I share my honest thoughts on my first 90 days of wearing my aligners and how it has worked for me.

Note: This post is sponsored by SmileDirectClub and contains affiliate links. All opinions are 100% my own. Read our .

Does really work?

I’ve gotten this question again and again in the last few months. And I wanted to give you an update on my honest thoughts and experiences with after 90 days of wearing my aligners.

Back in December, I posted an in-depth post about my honest experience with . In that post, I shared about how it works to get your teeth scanned, what the process is like, and what you can expect if you sign up with .

In May, I started wearing the aligners and I shared an honest review of SmileDirectClub with my initial thoughts on my treatment plan and what it was like to start wearing the aligners.

How to Get Started With

If you missed my earlier posts, here’s a basic recap of :

  1. You  of your smile (it’s FREE!) OR you  (use coupon code MSMDEAL to get 50% off the price) to make an impression so they can build a 3D impression of your smile. (You can see what the at-home impression kit is below.)
  2. Your 3D smile is reviewed by a duly licensed dentist or orthodontist, who will guide your new smile from beginning to end.
  3. They send you a preview of your new smile showing how your smile will transform and begin production of your invisible aligners, as unique to you as a fingerprint.
  4. They send you aligners in the mail that you wear 24/7 (except for when you eat) during a 6-month process. You change these out every week or every other week during the process. (They send you texts to remind you when you need to change the aligners). (Be sure  to save an additional $100 off the cost of your aligners!)
  5. You work with a licensed dentist or orthodontist the entire time and they ask you to send periodic photos to help them make sure you are on track.
  6. At the end of 6 months, you can purchase a set of retainers for $99 to help maintain your smile. You just wear them at night to keep your new smile in place.

What the First 90 Days Have Been Like

Honestly, wearing the aligners has been a lot less of a hassle and a lot less pain than I expected. Yes, I still feel them in my mouth. It isn’t as comfortable to talk.

My smile with them in looks a little weird to me (other people say it looks amazing; I think it looks like my lips are puffed out!). And yes, I don’t love having to take them out every time I eat or drink anything besides water.

But I have been so pleased with the results (more on that below!)

Do the Aligners Hurt?

I’ve gotten some questions as to whether the aligners hurt or not. I think it’s probably a little different for each person.

For me, I follow the suggestion to always switch to a new pair at night instead of in the morning. This gives you all night in your sleep to adjust to the new aligners. Usually within 24 hours of switching to a new pair, there is almost zero pain and only a little discomfort.

Does SmileDirectClub Really Work?

This is the most important question, right? I can’t speak for others, but I can tell you that I am seeing a noticeable difference in how my teeth look since wearing the aligners!

Also, it’s not just me who is noticing. I keep having people tell me how much of a difference they can see. In fact, just the other day someone who follows on Instagram wrote in and ask what kind of dental work I had had done because she works at a dentist’s office and could tell a marked difference in how my teeth looked!

I truly do feel more confident when smiling and speaking and recording live videos. I was never embarrassed of my crooked teeth; but I was conscious of them. It’s so nice to see them look so much straighter — and I’m not done with my treatment plan yet!

What I Love About 

  • I love that the price is less expensive than getting braces. While it depends upon your doctor and insurance, you’re typically going to pay at least $3500 for traditional braces. The  treatment plan only costs $1895 to $2290 for the entire process! And they do work with some insurance companies, too.
  • I love that I don’t have to go to appointments. Seriously, I know it’s silly, but it’s true. This was one big factor holding me back from moving forward with getting braces was the time involved going to so many orthodontist appointments.
  • I love that they are so thorough in explaining the process and setting you up for success. They send you emails with lots of details, they provide links to in-depth articles, and there is a booklet in your kit that answers all the questions you could have.
  • I love that you can take them out. Okay, call me weird, but the thought of having something semi-permanently stuck in my mouth that only an orthodontist can take out just makes me feel uncomfortable. I love that I can take these out a few times per day to eat and drink.

What I Don’t Like About 

  • I don’t like that you have to take them out to eat or drink. You can only drink clear cool water with the aligners in. It can be a bit of a hassle to have to take them out every time to you eat or drink.
  • I don’t like that they seem to attract lipstick. I haven’t changed anything with my lipstick routine, but ever since I got the aligners, I have to be so careful about what lipstick I wear and how I put it on. Multiple times, I’ve discovered that
  • I don’t like that they feel unsanitary sometimes. It feels kind of gross to be taking things in and out of your mouth multiple times per day — especially when I’m out and about or am eating with friends. I’ve gotten better at being able to quickly take them out and stick them in the case, but it feels a little gross to do it in front of people. (Hey, I’m just being honest!)
  • I don’t like that my speech sounds and feels a little garbled. While it doesn’t sound too bad, I can’t talk as clearly as usual with the aligners in. Because of this, I’ve taken them out when I’ve recorded podcasts or spoken at a conference.

(Please note: The aligners are only going on your teeth. They aren’t doing anything with your jaw so they will not correct overbites or other really misaligned teeth issues. You can  to see if you are a candidate for their services based upon how your teeth are. I’d recommend getting a second opinion from a local orthodontist if you aren’t sure. I also would highly, highly recommend going into a local shop. This way you can get a scan and make sure you feel comfortable with going through this process.)

Want to try ?

If you can’t go into a local , you can order an  (shown above). Again, I would personally recommend going into a SmileShop. It’s completely FREE to do so and they do such a great job of giving you such a high-quality scan.

But you if you do end up ordering an , use coupon code MSMDEAL to get 50% off the price.

And if you decide to , you can also use coupon code MSMDEAL at checkout to get $100 off the price of your Invisible Aligners.

Have you used  before? If so, I’d love to hear your honest opinions and experience with it. Has SmileDirectClub worked for you?

Sign up with EF Education First to work from home as an ESL teacher!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Looking for unique ways to earn a part-time income from home? Apply to teach with EF Education First!

If you hold a Bachelor’s degree, you can currently  to to make money teaching kids English online from the comfort of your home!

With EF Education First, your teaching is supplemental to what they’re already learning in a classroom environment. You don’t need any mandatory props or teaching backdrops.

And you can earn up to $2,000 per month teaching part-time with EF Education First!

Interested? Here’s how to apply:

  1. Go  and and enter your name and e-mail address to get started.
  2. Complete the application form.
  3. Speak to someone from the recruitment team.
  4. If hired, you’ll get a contract and be up and running in as little as two weeks!

Psst! Looking for more opportunities like this? You can also apply with VIPKID or Qkids to teach part-time from home!

10 Simple Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill

Need some practical ideas to cut your grocery bill? Here’s a list of 10 simple ideas to shave money off your grocery budget.

Looking for more tips? Check out my post on 25 Ways to Save Money on Groceries and my $70 Grocery Budget posts.

10 Simple Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill

Guest Post by MaryEllen from

While picking up my milk for the week, I stopped to consider how many people might wonder why I was digging all the way to the back of the refrigerated section. Then I started thinking about how easy it is for anyone to reduce their grocery budget just by following a few simple guidelines.

I’m not talking about spending hours every week clipping coupons and scouring the sale papers for deals. These are simple strategies that everyone can use to help keep their food costs down:

1. Look toward the back of the refrigerated section for the latest-dated milk, cheese, meat and other perishables. It certainly won’t help you cut expenses if your food goes bad and you have to throw it out and buy more.

2. Buy whole milk and mix it with water. It will taste different at first, but you’ll get used to it after a while. If you can bring your taste buds to agree to mixing your milk half and half with water then you’re getting two gallons for the price of one! (Note: Keep in mind that if you have young children, watering down your milk will affect the nutrition of it.)

3. If you’re buying individual fruits (e.g. apples, oranges, etc.) by the pound, pick out the smallest ones. The total weight will be less, and therefore you won’t pay as much, but you won’t notice the difference when you’re eating your apple.

4. Shop early in the morning if at all possible. That is when you’ll find most of the marked down produce, meat, and bread. Even if you can’t shop in the morning, be sure to still keep an eye out for products that have been marked down.

5. Don’t buy too much produce at one time. Produce (especially if it has been shipped a long distance) will not last very long before it has to be thrown out. Try to buy only enough for about one week at a time.

6. If you find a good sale on something you normally buy that has an extended shelf-life or freezer life, stock up. Why wait until later and pay full price when you can buy several now at a much lower price?

7. Be creative and cook with what you have on hand. Make your weekly menus based on what is already in your pantry or freezer. Then you’ll just need to buy a few ingredients to fill in the gaps.

8. Make a list and stick to it when you shop. Unplanned “extras” add up very quickly.

9. Consider how badly you really need something. For example, it doesn’t really take any longer to make pancakes or biscuits from scratch than from a box mix. Yet those box mixes often quite a bit more than just buying the ingredients would cost. (Cooking from scratch is much better for your health, too!)

10. Use coupons. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m not talking about spending hours each week on clipping coupons and scoping out deals. But if something is on your list, you should at least check to see if there is a coupon out for it. A good place to check is the coupon database. You’ll be surprised at the difference fifty cents here and a dollar there can make!

What other tips or strategies for cutting your grocery bill would you add to this list?

(originally published in 2008)

The Best Things to Buy in July

Maximize your savings this month with this list of items that are best to buy during the month of July!

Did you know you can save quite a bit of money if you wait to buy certain items during certain months throughout the year? Check out this list of the !