Have debt? Chances are, you had debt for a few years; it probably bothered you, but not too much. However, once you make up your mind to be rid of the debt, as is human nature, you want to be rid of it right now!
We put up with debt for two years while my husband finished his doctorate degree. Now, nine months after he finished his degree, we want nothing more than to be debt free, which means we don’t budget in a lot of luxuries or treats. Instead, we funnel all of our extra money to debt repayment. However, we still find free ways to have fun. Here are some of our best strategies:
Swagbucks is a search engine. I registered and use it just like I would use Google or Yahoo!, but the difference is that I sometimes earn free points for searching the Internet using Swagbucks. I have won anywhere from 7 to 79 points at a time. There are other ways to earn more Swagbucks such as recycling your old books for Swagbucks points, doing surveys, and finding freebie codes around the Internet. (Speaking of freebie codes, here is one–use the code FINCON2012 as a newly registered user and get 80 free Swagbucks on sign up).
When I have enough Swagbucks, we redeem them for restaurant gift cards. For instance, an O’Charley’s $25 gift card is 2,820 Swagbucks. It may take me a few months to get that many points, but it is free, and I am not doing anything extra. I am simply searching the Internet as I would normally every day. There are many other things you can redeem your Swagbucks for. Some of our favorites are Amazon gift cards and PayPal cash.
Ask for gift cards for presents.
If you have friends and relatives who buy you birthday and Christmas presents, you can let them know that you are busy paying down debt and would love some kind of gift card as a present instead of more “stuff.” My mom still insists on buying us Christmas presents, but now she tends to give us gift cards for restaurants and clothing stores since we are loathe to spend the extra money ourselves right now.
Your chances of winning a giveaway aren’t huge, but there is always that possibility. If I am relaxing and watching television (which doesn’t happen very often right now), I also enter giveaways. I set up a separate, dedicated e-mail and enter the giveaways. The best I have won so far has been a $100 Amazon gift card. Still, giveaways are another way to earn free money so our own money can get paid on debt.
Other people swear by survey sites, but I have found those take a lot of time and provide very little in return.
For us, “finding” splurge money through Swagbucks, presents, and giveaways allows us to funnel the rest of our money on debt repayment. However, to avoid burnout, it helps to have fun, little splurges once in a while, especially when we can splurge for free.
What is your favorite method of getting money for “free”?