A Guide to Spending Little and Living More

We are all careless with our money sometimes. The payroll for this month comes swooping in and suddenly we’ve spent a good half of it on candles, bath salts and all sorts of bits and bobs that we’re never going to be able to use more than 5 times at best. How do you stop though? Read on and find out how to be rich without being rich! 

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Not being a poor, starving artist

Before I got into games, my tertiary education was heavily based on financial maths. And while I’m no expert, I’m currently an artist who’s saved enough money to be able to travel every year, go to GDC, and have a handful of fancy gadgets, like a Cintiq, and smartphones and tablets, and a gaming laptop. Read on for how to make that happen…

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A few nights ago, I posted a lengthy post about my money jar and all the different ways I save and earn money online.

To be honest, I wrote the post because I needed to get my mind off of some stuff.

I never expected that post to turn into what it did.  Here I am 4 days and 45,000+ notes later, with an inbox full of people asking me questions about the websites and phone apps that I use to earn money.

Let’s start with the websites.

People have asked me about the safety of all of the sites I use.  Let me start by saying, I LOVE all of the sites that I am recommending.  I’ve had my personal information stolen before, so I did a lot of research on the sites I recommended before I signed up.  I promise you that they are all safe to use.  There are two things you need to know about these sites.  The first is that it becomes easy for them to suck up your time.  Be mindful of that.  The second thing is that they can lead to a lot of e-mails.  I created a separate e-mail specifically for these types of sites (erimemberships@mail.com for example) just so my e-mail wouldn’t get clogged up.

Inbox Dollars is one of the top online earning sites and sends you a check in the mail after you earn $30.  They do not ask for bank accounts and will not share your e-mail or address without your permission.  Some of the offers require purchases but I have never used those.  I have earned about $80 through paid e-mails, surveys, and watching videos.  I’ve had some questions about international access so I looked into it for you.  The answer is yes, you can sign up and earn money no matter where you live.  There are fewer ways to earn unfortunately, because it is an American company, but it is still possible to earn!

Bing is a search engine that works just as well as google.  The only difference is you can get paid for using their search engine.  They only allow a certain number of points a day, so it does not become a time suck.  They do not ask for a mailing address or bank account, so you don’t need to worry about that on this site.  They pay you through e-gift cards.  I’ve earned about $25 in Starbucks gift cards that I can access through the Starbucks app or download from e-mail.

Swagbucks is a fantastic site.  You can answer surveys, watch videos, and enter promo codes to earn points.  It’s really easy to earn.  They also pay in gift cards so you won’t ever need to give them a mailing address or bank account.  For those asking if it can be used internationally, here is the information I found on the site: “Different countries and territories around the globe have different contesting regulations. At the moment, we are only able to serve the US, the UK, Ireland, Australia, India and Canada. We hope to expand our service to other areas of the globe in the future.”

Treasure Trooper is a fun site.  It has surveys, cash radio (one of my favorite things) and fun games to play.  This site also will mail you a check that is perfectly legal.  I’ve deposited a few of them with no concerns.  They do not ask for bank accounts and only use your mailing address to send you your payments.  You can earn gift cards and checks.  I’ve earned $36 with this site.  I could not find any information on international accessibility.

Ebates is a wonderful website that I’ve been using for many years.  You sign up, shop through their links, and earn a percentage of your purchase back.  It’s that simple.  No surveys, no extra stuff.  Just go to their website before you do your online shopping.  They also will mail you checks that you can deposit to your bank account.

Phone apps are another great way to earn or save money.  I use a few different ones.

Swagbucks, Inbox Dollars, and Ebates all have phone apps that you can access.  I use a few other sites, though, and they can be very helpful.

Shopkick is awesome.  They provide you with “kicks” that you can later redeem for gift cards to places like Starbucks, Target, and Barnes and Noble.  You open the app when you walk up to selected stores.  You earn kicks just for being at the store.  Then you can earn kicks for scanning different items in the store and reviewing them.  The kicks add up pretty quickly, so it’s quite easy.

Retailmenot is an online coupon tracker.  You open the app, search for stores near you, and they find a coupon for you.  I’ve saved A LOT of money using this app. It’s great.

Snap is a groupon app that gives you cash back for buying specific items.  You buy the item, scan the barcode, and take a quick picture of the receipt.  For example, right now you can get $1.00 back when you buy V8 protein shakes.  After you earn $20 in rebates, they will send you a check.  I just started using this a month ago, so I have not reached that point yet.  I also do not have information on its international availability.

Ibotta works the same way that Snap does.  You buy specific items and scan the receipt.  Once your receipt is approved, you can earn rebates.  After a certain $ amount, you can buy different gift cards or use PayPal for payments.

Receipt Hog is an app that has an adorable cartoon pig that you “feed” your receipts to for coins.  You buy anything and take a picture of your receipt.  The app checks your receipt, decides if it’s eligible, and gives you coins for your receipts.  After so many coins, you can redeem them for Amazon gift cards or a PayPal payment.  If you decide to use this cute app, my only request is that you use my referral code: smob9127.  Thank you!

Shopmium is another rebate app.  They ask you to purchase specific items, scan the bar code, and scan the receipt.  This app asks for your bank account, but you DO NOT have to give it to them.  You can receive your payments through PayPal.  If you decide to use this app, please use my referral code: KKGYYCKV.  Thank you!

So that’s it!  These are all the different websites and apps that I use.  As with anything that I’ve recommended in the past, I am not an expert in any way (I’m a teacher, not a financial advisor) and am simply sharing information.  Use these sites/apps at your own risk.  Do your research before joining anything.

Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions!