My husband and I have two young kids, the last of which was a very welcome surprise (which means he was not budgeted for, lol). So even though we both have pretty good incomes and we (mostly) live within our means, I still sometimes find myself feeling strapped for cash. When I get that feeling I rely on a few websites to help me make money, save money, and get freebies. Here are 11 websites that I rely on to help me when I am overwhelmed by our family’s budget and bank account (or lack thereof):


Where I go to make a few bucks

1. Swagbucks – Swagbucks is an online rewards program where you earn points for doing things like shopping, watch videos, searching the web, and answering surveys. You redeem those points for e-gift cards to places like Amazon and Target, or you can get actual cash from Paypal. I tend to do the surveys when I am waiting around – like in the doctor’s office, on a bus/shuttle stop, or in a long line at Chipotle – and on lunch breaks. And I always check their shopping section before making a purchase online to see if the store I am shopping for offers any cash back deals. Below you’ll see a screen shot of the most recent gift cards I have acquired using the site. You’re not going to get rich using the site, but you may be able to get a free pack of diapers each week just by doing surveys and watching videos in your spare time.



2. Instagc – Instagc is another online rewards program and you earn points pretty much the same ways you can on Swagbucks. The only difference is that the rewards you claim on this website can be used instantly, whereas it could take up to 10-14 business days to receive your e-gift cards through Swagbucks. I use this site a lot less frequently but, again, I am going to show you my most recent gift card hauls so you can see that I actually use the site and get a sense of what kind of money you can bring in just by using this website on your down time.



3. Ebates – Ebates offers cashback just for shopping online using their links to your favorite retailers like Walmart and Macys. I always check this website and Swagbucks shop before making any online purchase to see which will offer me the biggest cash back percentage and use the higher yielding one. If you sign up using my link you will receive a free $10 reward on your first purchase of $25 or more through the website!


4. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing – I also make a little money by selling ebooks that I have self-published on It’s actually not that hard to design and publish your own ebooks through Kindle KDP if you have a great idea. I have so far published one nonfiction ebook for adults and two children ebooks and I have a few more in the works! You can learn all about my books at the links above. If you have specific questions about how to self-publish your own ebooks hit me up on facebook or twitter and I would be happy to help.


Where I go to save a few bucks

5. Groupon – Groupon offer you great deals on local dining, lodging, and entertainment, and also discounts on great products. So I use it to save money on some items my families needs and when purchasing gifts for others. I also use it sometimes when looking for new dining out options for the rare occasion that we do venture out with our little monsters.



6. Living Social – This website works exactly the same as Groupon, but offers different deals.


7. – The go to place to print coupons before heading into the store. I always check here after making my shopping list and before going to the store to look for coupons. I try and combine printable coupons with store promotions to maximize the savings.


8. – If you are a member of the ExtraCare rewards program like I am then I am sure you already know about this gem. If not, sign up for free to get personalized discounts on the products you buy most. You can earn ExtraBucks on some purchases that can be spent like cash in CVS on just about anything.


9. Snagshout – This website offers you discounts (usually pretty deep discounts, too) on products from It is a place for Amazon merchants to offer their new products for cheap to get customers to try them. It’s nice to leave a review of the products, but not required.  You snag a deal on an item you like and you will receive a discount code to use on to bring the price down to the price offered on the website. Sometimes you can get items for absolutely free!


Where I go to get a few freebies

10. Pinchme – Pinchme is a website that offers free samples of new and forthcoming products monthly. By signing up for free you can receive trial- and full-sized samples of products and all you have to do is leave a review once you have tried it. I have been given free body wash, baby products, snacks, and hair care products.


11. Amazon Prime Now – I can’t say enough about the benefits of an Amazon Prime membership. Yes you have to pay $99 a year (less if you’re a student or sign up when they are offering a promotion) but that subscription fee pays for itself with all the free shipping, movies, music, and random promotions. Amazon Prime Now allows Prime members to get available products shipped free to them within 2 hours, and in some cases you can pay a fee to get orders within an hour. I usually access Prime Now using the mobile app but I believe the same benefits are available through the website. Once in while, seemingly randomly, the app offers promotional codes for free stuff. In the past few months I have gotten a free stain remover product, free family-sized bags of chips, free chocolate, free soda, and free baby stuff.


What are some of your favorite money making and saving websites? Let me know on facebook or twitter.


*This post contains affiliate/referral links.


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11 Websites I rely on When I feel Strapped for Cash
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